Rocket Lab launched its third Electron rocket this year early Sunday morning, in the company's first mission for NASA.
The mission sent 13 spacecraft to orbit in an operation known as Educational Launch of Nanosatellites 19 (ELaNA-19). Rocket Lab is the first company to fly under NASA's Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) program. Under the intiative, the government hopes to push the boundaries of cheap, reliable launches with the budding market of new small rocket services.
"All payloads deployed," Rocket Lab's CEO said in a tweet. "Perfect mission."
Rocket Lab builds small rockets, priced at about $5.7 million a launch. The company's Electron rocket is designed to launch spacecraft up to the size of a refrigerator, especially for the premium small satellite part of the rocket market.