Our 50th Launch!

We are coming up on our 50th launch! It is hard to believe that we’ve launched nearly 450 spacecraft on 50 missions in our 10+ year history. We’re proud to have the most experience orchestrating launches and in-space transportation in the business, from our first launch on a Soyuz, to our next mission on an Electron lifting off in just a couple days.

But we’re most proud of our people – our team who can make it work, no matter the challenges. We turned to them to ask them about some of their favorite launch memories. Here are a few:

From Ben M: 

My first mission with Spaceflight was a launch with Rocket Lab. A customer on the mission requested greater security and visibility through the entirety of the shipment. That meant someone had to travel with the spacecraft from our integration facility near Seattle to Rocket Lab’s launch facility in Mahia, New Zealand. A leg of that shipment was via a cargo-only freighter from Los Angeles to Auckland. I traveled with the spacecraft on the freighter, sitting with the crew on the upper deck of the Boeing 747. A truly unique experience!

Flying with cargo to New Zealand

From Marcy M:

I went to French Guiana to recharge and reintegrate a customer’s satellites for them during the COVID lock down. It was quite a challenge getting approval to enter French Guiana, find an available flight in, and manage quarantine restrictions. Once the job was done and the satellites were integrated and ready for launch, it was time to find a departing flight back to the United States. The pilot kept delaying the flight, and passengers started to get frustrated. It turns out, the flight was delayed due to our Arianespace launch! Shortly after our flight took off, we were able to watch the rocket launch from above the clouds on the airplane. It was the most incredible launch viewing! 

Managing COVID restrictions in French Guiana, and watching a launch from the sky

From Jodi S:

By far one of my favorite launch memories came from SSOA in 2018. It was my very first Spaceflight launch – and to date, it’s still our largest with 64 spacecraft on board. We had all worked so hard on this mission for over a year – making the launch viewing both exhilarating and nerve wracking! Watching that Falcon 9 lift off in the early morning from Vandenberg AFB alongside so many customers and colleagues took my breath away.

Employee viewing at launch of SSOA

From Alex P:

Having been at the company for just over 6 months, I haven’t seen quite as many launches as many of my coworkers, but my favorite was RL-8, “Love at First Insight” back in November 2021. I really loved the name and mission patch (my favorite one so far), and it was the first time Rocket Lab had a helicopter stationed in the recovery zone which was very interesting to learn about from the launch commentators! This launch got me excited for many future Rocket Lab launches, and the eventual aerial capture of the Electron First Stage!

RL-8 readies to launch

From Lisa M:

My favorite memory is tied to the extent we had to go through to get our customer launched during the height of the pandemic while country lock downs were standard practice around the world.  Making detailed arrangements beforehand, Spaceflight and our customer’s technical team participated remotely in two launch integrations while the LV payload integration team performed the satellite-to-payload deck integration and final encapsulation. Both launches were a success and it was definitely one for the record book! 

Ta Da! Lisa celebrates a successful integration campaign

From Wally L:

My favorite memory was the general efforts it took to get additional payloads added to the Astra-1 manifest in such a short period of time.

Possibly a favorite mission patch!

While it is nice to look back, we’re always looking ahead. We are already looking forward to more memories as we launch our 50th, 75th and 100th mission, including so many exciting Sherpa OTV missions. It’s a thrill to be part of the ever-evolving commercial space industry.

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