Rocket Lab effectively propelled a characterized payload for the National Reconnaissance Office Jan. 30 in the first of up to twelve launches arranged by the organization this year.
Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket lifted off from the organization’s launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula at 9:56 p.m. Eastern. The launch, named “Birds of a Feather” by Rocket Lab, was the eleventh strategic the Electron rocket and its first launch of 2020.
The rocket was conveying a payload for the NRO assigned NROL-151. The organization secured the launch through its Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket, or RASR, program, which it began in 2018 to acquire little launch vehicles responsively. This launch was the first under the RASR program.
Neither Rocket Lab nor the NRO discharged insights concerning the payload, including whether it was at least one satellites or their motivation. Novice satellite onlookers noticed the mission gave off an impression of being going into a high inclination orbit of about 70 degrees, yet not a sun-synchronous orbit usually utilized by Earth observation missions.
The NRO released a logo for the mission before the launch that attracted comparison online to those of the Milwaukee Bucks b-ball group and Jägermeister liquor. The logo is decorated with good luck charms like a horseshoe and wishbone. The NRO said in a tweet that the logo was “a light-hearted way to wish #NROL151 good fortune & luck on its mission.”
Claude Denni was born and raised in San Jose. Claude has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Daily Democrat here in Californiar and NPR. As a journalist for Coastal Morning Star, Claude covers national and international developments.