SpaceX launched the first in a series of small satellite rideshare missions Sunday from Cape Canaveral, providing transportation for 143 U.S. and international spacecraft to low Earth orbit, a record number of satellites on a single flight. Liftoff occurred at 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT) Sunday after bad weather forced SpaceX to scrub a launch attempt Saturday morning.
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.
Rocket Lab’s commercial Electron booster fired into orbit from New Zealand on Sunday, carrying a flock of 13 CubeSats on the company’s first mission chartered by NASA, and closing out a landmark year for the new smallsat launch provider as Rocket Lab aims to grow its flight rate to at least one per month in 2019.