Rocket Lab successfully launches NASA's ElaNa-19 mission
At 1:16am EST, Rocket Lab launched their Electron rocket carrying a NASA mission for the very first time from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. Electron was carrying 13 CubeSats, weighing 172 pounds, into a 500km x 500km orbit using the kick stage. This was the first time that NASA CubeSats got a dedicated ride to orbit on a commercial launch vehicle.
This launch was made possible by NASA's Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) initiative. Before now, CubeSats were limited to ride share arrangements on larger rockets carrying large satellites into orbit.
The name of this Electron rocket was "This One's For Pickering" and was dedicated to New Zealand-born scientist and former director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Sir William Pickering.