Wallops Island, Virginia. December 9, 2022 – Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket successfully launched on January 24th from the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority’s (Virginia Space) Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS). The “Virginia is for Launch Lovers” mission, the first Electron rocket launched in the United States, deployed three satellites for radio frequency geospatial analysis belonging to Hawkeye360, a Virginia-based satellite company. The satellites were integrated at Virginia Space’s Integration and Control Facility, which Rocket Lab leases.
“I’m honored to support the launch of this historic mission,” said Virginia Space CEO Roosevelt “Ted” Mercer, Jr. “Our partnership with Rocket Lab and NASA is a unique opportunity for the Commonwealth of Virginia to create long-term economic development opportunities on the Eastern Shore.”
This is the first of three Electron-Hawkeye360 missions. A total of 15 satellites will be launched to low Earth orbit through 2024. These missions will allow Hawkeye360 to provide more precise geolocation of radio frequency emissions anywhere in the world. Virginia Space, a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, owns and operates three launch pads at MARS, including Launch Complex 2/Pad-0C, a multi-user launch pad that supports small rockets like the Electron.
Virginia Space provides assured access to space for the United States, providing full-service launch services for commercial, government, scientific and academic users. The Rocket Lab partnership will also bring rocket manufacturing to the Eastern Shore for the first time. Virginia Space will be home to the entire value chain. Customers will be able to build, integrate, and launch rockets on the Eastern Shore.
The next Electron launch is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023, followed by the newly announced TROPICS missions in partnership with NASA next summer.