Rocket Lab successfully launched its first suborbital testbed launch vehicle called HASTE (Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron) for Leidos on June 17, 2023.
The inaugural launch lifted-off at 21:24 Eastern local time (June 18, 01:24 UTC) from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 2 at Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.
Rocket Lab was selected by Leidos to provide hypersonic test launch capabilities under its Multi-Service Advanced Capability Hypersonic Test Bed (MACH-TB) program to increase the speed of testing for all commercially available hypersonic systems. The program also called for the creation of an experimental glide body (EGB) that will allow the team to gather data on and validate performance of hypersonic glide body components.
The HASTE suborbital launch vehicle is derived from the Company’s Electron rocket but has a modified Kick Stage for hypersonic payload deployment, a larger payload capacity of up to 700 kg / 1,540 lbs, and options for tailored fairings to accommodate larger payloads, including air-breathing, ballistic re-entry, boost-glide, and space-based applications payloads. By leveraging the heritage of Rocket Lab’s low-cost Electron – the world’s most frequently launched commercial small launch vehicle – HASTE offers true commercial testing capability at a fraction of the cost of current full-scale tests.
For more information about HASTE, visit rocketlabusa.com/launch/haste.