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Rocket Lab debuts HASTE Rocket with first successful suborbital launch from Virginia


Lift-off of Rocket Lab's HASTE launch vehicle from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 in Virginia on Saturday, 17 June 2023. (Photo: Business Wire)

Rocket Lab USA has successfully launched its first suborbital testbed launch vehicle, called HASTE (Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron) for a confidential customer.


The inaugural launch took place on June 17 at 21:24 Eastern local time (June 18, 01:24 UTC) from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 2 at Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.


The HASTE suborbital launch vehicle is derived from the Company’s Electron rocket but has a modified Kick Stage for hypersonic payload deployment, a larger payload capacity of up to 700 kg / 1,540 lbs, and options for tailored fairings to accommodate larger payloads, including air-breathing, ballistic re-entry, boost-glide, and space-based applications payloads. By leveraging the heritage of Rocket Lab’s low-cost Electron – the world’s most frequently launched commercial small launch vehicle – HASTE offers true commercial testing capability at a fraction of the cost of current full-scale tests.


“The success of this mission demonstrates collaboration across government and industry partners to change the paradigm in hypersonic testing,” said Brian Rogers, Senior Director – Global Launch Services. “HASTE enables the frequent, affordable flight testing needed to advance the nation’s hypersonic technology development, and we’re proud to be delivering this vital capability. We thank our mission partners for entrusting us with this inaugural mission and look forward to continuing our partnership into the future.”


HASTE will be primarily operated under Rocket Lab National Security (RLNS), the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary created to serve the unique needs of the U.S. defense and intelligence community and its allies. Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 within the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is the launch site for HASTE.

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