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Rocket Lab successfully launches U.S. spy satellite

Rocket Lab successfully launches U.S. spy satellite
Rocket Lab's Electron rocket launched a U.S. spy satellite on Friday in New Zealand (Thursday evening EST.) Photo courtesy of Rocket Lab

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. launch company Rocket Lab launched a U.S. spy satellite from New Zealand on Thursday.

"Successful Electron lift-off!" RocketLab tweeted on Friday afternoon in New Zealand.

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The company had experienced a few delays for the launch due to ground-level winds, but otherwise, the mission reportedly went off without any problems.

It was Rocket Lab's first launch of 2020, from the firm's Launch Complex 1 is in New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula. Rocket Lab opened a second launch complex in Virginia last year.

The so-called Birds of a Feather mission was part of the National Reconnaissance Office's Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket program, which is aimed at providing a streamlined, commercial approach for getting small satellites into space.

The Electron rocket for the launch completed another test for Rocket Lab's plans to develop reusability, but the company didn't try to recover it. Data from the rocket was to be gathered for the development of reusable boosters.

"For this mission, a camera on stage one will attempt to document the re-entry view," the company had said in a news release.

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