Rocket Lab is scheduled to conduct a mission to deploy a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

Rocket Lab is scheduled to conduct a mission to deploy a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

Rocket Lab is preparing for its upcoming mission, titled "Live & Let Fly," slated for no earlier than Thursday, March 21st. The launch will be conducted from Launch Complex 2 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, marking Rocket Lab's fourth mission from its Virginia pad. Previous launches from this location include HASTE, a suborbital variant of the Electron rocket.

The client for this mission is the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), marking their inaugural use of Rocket Lab's U.S. launch pad. The mission, designated NROL-123, will involve the deployment of a classified payload. Although specific details about the payload remain confidential, enthusiasts typically track down information about the orbits of such secretive payloads shortly after launch.

This mission will be Rocket Lab's fourth launch of the year, following the successful 'Owl Night Long' mission for Synspective on March 12th. The company aims to sustain its recent achievements and achieve its fifth consecutive successful flight after encountering a setback during the 'We Will Never Desert You' mission in September 2023.

Rocket Lab has undertaken 45 launch attempts to date, with 41 successes. Following each setback, the company has rebounded stronger, progressing significantly with its first-stage recovery program. It has successfully re-flown its Rutherford engines and recovered multiple first stages, inching closer to the milestone of re-flying an entire Electron rocket.

In its Q3 results, Rocket Lab disclosed plans to attempt recoveries on at least nine out of the 22 missions scheduled for 2024. However, the company remains flexible and may adjust this strategy based on operational considerations, as demonstrated in previous years.

While Rocket Lab continues to increase the launch frequency of its Electron rocket, it is concurrently advancing work on its Neutron rocket. The Neutron, designed to carry larger payloads to orbit and featuring reusability from its maiden flight, is undergoing development. Peter Beck, CEO and Founder of Rocket Lab, stated during the Q4 earnings call that they aimed to complete construction of their Stennis test stand by the end of March and conduct test fires of the new Archimedes engine shortly thereafter.

Beck also hinted at the possibility of launching the Neutron by the end of the year, provided that testing progresses smoothly.



-------The article excerpted from TESLARATI.

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