Rocket Lab has conducted the first launch of its suborbital version of the Electron rocket. The mission was a success.
Rocket Lab has been operating the Electron rocket since 2017 and has completed 37 launches to date, with 34 of them successful.
In April 2023, the company announced the development of a suborbital version of the Electron rocket called HASTE (Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron). It is designed for suborbital missions and can carry payloads of up to 700 kg.
The first flight of HASTE took place on June 17. The rocket was launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island. The mission was a success. It is worth noting that the launch was accompanied by increased secrecy compared to regular Electron flights. Rocket Lab did not provide any information about the payload or details about the rocket’s speed and maximum altitude. The company also did not provide a live broadcast of the flight.
The secrecy surrounding the HASTE launch may be explained by Rocket Lab’s expectation that one of the main customers for the new rocket will be the U.S. Department of Defense. The U.S. military is actively involved in several projects related to hypersonic weapons and defense systems against them. According to Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck, the company anticipates demand for HASTE from the Pentagon.
Earlier, we reported on Rocket Lab’s plans to reuse rocket engines that have already flown in space.