EDITOR’S NOTE: Updated March 24, March 25 and 26 with new launch dates.
Rocket Lab’s light-class Electron launcher is set to take off on its fifth flight from New Zealand, aiming for a 264-mile-high (425-kilometer) orbit with DARPA’s R3D2 technology demonstration satellite.
The two-stage, 55-foot-tall (17-meter) rocket is scheduled for liftoff during a four-hour window opening at 6:30 p.m. EDT (2230 GMT) Thursday from Rocket Lab’s commercial launch complex on Mahia Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island.
The privately-developed Electron launcher is making its fifth flight after its maiden flight in May 2017 reached space, but faltered before reaching orbit, followed by four successful missions in a row that deployed nanosatellites into low Earth orbit.
SpaceX hopes to resume launches in November as the company continues its investigation into a Sept. 1 launch pad explosion to determine whether the accident originated on the Falcon 9 rocket or ground systems, officials said Tuesday.
Poised to loft a Russian-German X-ray astronomy observatory into space Friday, a Proton rocket returned to its launch pad Tuesday at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan after a three-week delay to replace a drained battery on the vehicle.
SpaceX technicians offloaded a Dragon cargo capsule from its recovery ship Thursday after returning the thrice-flown supply freighter to the Port of Los Angeles, marking the final planned return of a Dragon spacecraft to the West Coast.