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Revisit Space Startup Rocket Lab’s First US Launch

People living along the East Coast of the United States had the opportunity to enjoy a weekday rocket launch on Tuesday, as long as the skies were clear. And startup space RocketLab hope it was just the first of many such incidents.

The company has completed more than 30 launches of its electron rocket from the complex in New Zealand. On Tuesday, it lifted off for the first time from Launch Complex 2 at Virginia Space̵[ads1]7;s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, which is within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

The electron exploded just after 6 PM ET. You can rewatch the entire mission below.

The mission, nicknamed Virginia Is for Launch Lovers, sent satellites into orbit for Hawkeye 360, a company dedicated to detecting and geolocating radio signals from space.

Most US space launches leave from Florida. But Wallops is centrally located on the Atlantic coast, making the launch potentially visible across a wide region, stretching from South Carolina to Maine and including tens of millions of people. Prepared and lucky photographers across the region posted the Electron’s flight through the atmosphere to social media.

Rocket Lab has become the second most prolific commercial launch provider in recent years, behind only SpaceX. The company says the second launch site in Virginia will allow it to support over 130 missions a year. Electron is a smaller rocket than SpaceX’s Falcon 9, designed to lift smaller satellites into orbit.

Rocket Lab is developing a larger rocket called the Neutron and also wants to perfect a way to reuse the booster by catch them with line and helicopter.

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