The NROL-199 “Antipodean Adventure” national security mission on Thursday lifted off aboard Rocket Lab USA’s Electron launch vehicle from a launch site in New Zealand.
The event marks the second launch performed by Rocket Lab for the National Reconnaissance Office, which will operate the mission in partnership with Australia’s defense department, the company said Thursday.
Rocket Lab launched NRO’s NROL-162 “Wise One Looks Ahead” mission on July 13, weeks after sending NASA’s Capstone mission to the moon in late June.
“We’re proud to be delivering responsive space capability to the national security community and we’re grateful to the NRO for entrusting us with their missions once again,” said Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab.
Launch services for NROL-199 and NROL-162 missions were acquired through NRO’s Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket, which allows the agency to launch small satellites via a commercial approach.