Rocket Lab secretly launched its own company-made satellite on latest flight – Loren Grush

Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket taking off | Image: Rocket Lab

Small satellite launcher Rocket Lab says it has successfully flown one of its own satellites, demonstrating that the spacecraft’s design holds up in Earth orbit. It’s the first time the company has flown its in-house cylindrical spacecraft, known as the Photon, which Rocket Lab hopes to sell to customers for use in ambitious deep-space missions.

The satellite was secretly a part of Rocket Lab’s most recent launch. On August 30th, the company’s Electron rocket took off from Rocket Lab’s primary launch site in New Zealand, lofting a single satellite for the company Capella Space. But once the satellite had separated from the rocket, part of the Electron actually turned into a satellite and remained in orbit around Earth. The satellite was…

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