Rocket Lab “Virginia Is For Launch Lovers” Launch

Update: This launch was originally scheduled for 2022-12-18. It was cancelled due to upper level winds and the launch campaign ended for the year. This is the first launch attempt since then. Payload and orbit details are unchanged. (2023-01-24 20:13 UTC)

Rocket Lab plans to launch an Electron rocket carrying three HawkEye 360 satellites to a 550 km low Earth orbit at 40.5° inclination on 2023-01-24 at 23:00 UTC. The launch will be Rocket Lab’s first from its Launch Complex 2 on Wallops Island, Virginia in the U.S.

The HawkEye 360 satellites monitor radio frequency (RF) emissions around the globe to provide customers information about spectrum usage and potential interference to radio services. This is the sixth launch of a planned constellation of 20 clusters of three satellites each expected to be completed by the end of the 2020s with two or three clusters launched per year. This is HawkEye 360’s first launch on Electron—previous launches have been on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.

This first Rocket Lab launch from the U.S. has been delayed and postponed numerous times since completion of the launch pad at Wallops Island in December 2019. It wouldn’t be surprising if that happens again this time, even so close to the planned launch. That’s what happens when you build a launch site in Safetyland—their New Zealand launch site has a license to launch rockets every 72 hours for the next thirty years.

Here is a pre-launch preview from Everyday Astronaut.