Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket took off at 1:12 a.m. EDT (0512 GMT) Saturday carrying five payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office, NASA and the University of New South Wales at Canberra in Australia. The launch was the first for Rocket Lab since January due to delays related to the coronavirus pandemic.
NASA has signed a $187 million contract with Northrop Grumman to complete the preliminary design of a pressurized crew habitat for the planned Gateway mini-space station near the moon, and agency officials have discussed new details about plans to launch first two Gateway modules on a single heavy-lift rocket.
SpaceX launched the next group of satellites for the company’s Starlink broadband network Wednesday at 9:25 p.m. EDT (0125 GMT Thursday) from pad 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The satellites rode into orbit on a Falcon 9 rocket with a first stage flown on four previous missions, and the booster made a successful fifth landing on a SpaceX drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean.