Rocket Lab launches first HASTE suborbital testbed launch vehicle

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Rocket Lab USA, a provider of launch services and space systems, has successfully launched its first suborbital testbed launch vehicle, named HASTE (Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron), for an undisclosed client.

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

Derived from Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket, HASTE boasts a modified Kick Stage for hypersonic payload deployment, an expanded payload capacity of up to 700 kg / 1,540 lbs, and tailored fairings for larger payloads.

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Payloads can include air-breathing, ballistic re-entry, boost-glide, and space-based applications. Utilizing the low-cost heritage of the Electron, the world’s most frequently launched commercial small launch vehicle, HASTE provides commercial testing capability at a much-reduced cost.

Rocket Lab's HASTE launch vehicle successfully launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 in Virginia on Saturday, June 17, 2023.

Rocket Lab’s HASTE launch vehicle successfully launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 in Virginia on Saturday, June 17, 2023. Photo courtesy of Business Wire.

The HASTE launch vehicle will be mainly operated under Rocket Lab National Security (RLNS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rocket Lab formed to meet the specific requirements of the US defense and intelligence community and its allies. Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2, located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, is the designated launch site for HASTE.

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Brian Rogers — Rocket Lab Senior Director of Global Launch Services said: “The success of this mission demonstrates collaboration across government and industry partners to change the paradigm in hypersonic testing.

“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.”

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