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Rocket Lab Won’t Let COVID Stop ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ Mission, Sets New Target Launch Date

By | May 28, 2020

      Rocket Lab prepares to launch its 12th Electron mission. Photo: Rocket Lab

      Rocket Lab has set a new launch window starting June 11 for its 12th Electron launch, dubbed “Don’t Stop Me Now,” which was postponed from March due to COVID-19 restrictions. The mission, which will take off from Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula, was originally set for March 27. Rocket Lab paused preparations on March 24, when the New Zealand government issued an Alert Level 4 Covid-19 national response, requiring most businesses to close, restricted travel, and instructed people to stay home. 

      Rocket Lab said in a Thursday release that the launch vehicle and launch complex ground systems have remained in a state of readiness, and enhanced health and safety processes will be in place including physical distancing, split shifts, maintaining contact tracing registers, limiting interaction between team members, enhanced cleaning, and stringent hygiene standards.

      The mission will loft NASA’s ANDESITE satellite; three payloads designed, built, and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO); and the M2 Pathfinder satellite built in a collaboration between the University of New South Wales Canberra Space and the Australian government.