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Rocket Lab Hits Cadence Record with Successful NROL-199 Launch

By Jeffrey Hill | August 4, 2022

Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket on the pad at Launch Complex 1 ahead of a mission for the U.S. Space Force on July 29, 2021. Photo: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab successfully launched the second of two back-to-back national security missions for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) on an Electron rocket that took off early Thursday morning from Pad B at the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1.

The rocket carried the NROL-199 payload designed, built, and operated by the NRO in partnership with the Australian Department of Defense. The launch follows Rocket Lab’s successful delivery of NROL-162 on July 13. Rocket Lab also successfully launched the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon for NASA on June 28, marking a record cadence for the company with three successful Electron launches in just over five weeks.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck says: “We’re proud to be delivering responsive space capability to the national security community and we’re grateful to the NRO for entrusting us with their missions once again. Our team is focused on relentless execution for our customers and delivering three successful Electron missions in just over five weeks testament to this. That the team delivered two flawless back-to-back national security missions only days after our most complex mission yet, the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon for NASA, is phenomenal.”

The NRO awarded NROL-199 and NROL-162 to Rocket Lab under the Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract, which enables the NRO to launch small satellites through a streamlined, commercial approach. Rocket Lab launched NROL-151 (RASR-1) to space on a dedicated Electron launch in early 2020, followed by RASR-2 on another Electron in June 2020.