A week after scrubbing a launch attempt to evaluate an issue with an oxygen sensor, Rocket Lab launched a mission Wednesday to deliver 10 small commercial Earth observation satellites to orbit. Liftoff of the Electron booster from Rocket Lab’s spaceport in New Zealand occurred at 5:21 p.m. EDT (2121 GMT).
The announcement Monday of the discovery of phosphine gas in the clouds of Venus — an indicator of possible life — has raised hopes among scientists for new robotic missions to renew exploration of Earth’s planetary neighbor. If Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck gets his way, a privately-funded mission could get the next crack at probing Venus’s soupy atmosphere.
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.