About the Mission Emblem

The dragonfly symbolizes energy, youthful exuberance, and accomplishment—representing the use of new technology. The position of it flying through the hexagon symbolizes a new frontier, new opportunity, and new perspective. The forward movement represents the critical path of the mission.
The bees are based on the idea of “small but impactful” and represent the tremendous impact the program experiments will have on the NRO mission.
The sunfish, or mola, nods toward the program.
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Launch Vehicle


Rocket Lab logo Electron is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by Rocket Lab for dedicated access to space of small satellites.

Rutherford Engine(s)

Proven performance. The world’s first 3D-printed, electric-pump-fed rocket engine.

First Stage

  • 9 Sea-level Rutherford Engines
  • Lift-off Thrust: 190 kN (43,000 lbf)
  • Peak Thrust: 224 kN (56,000 lbf)
  • ISP: 311 seconds


Pneumatic Pusher

Second Stage

  • Single Vacuum Rutherford Engine
  • Total Thrust: 25.8 kN (5,800 lbf)
  • ISP: 343 seconds

Kick Stage

Electron’s unique Kick Stage is designed to deliver small satellites to precise and unique orbits, whether flying as dedicated or rideshare.

  • Deployment of payloads at multiple planes/inclinations
  • Higher altitude deployment
  • Hosted payload support
  • Multiple trajectory changes
  • Sustained low altitude orbits
  • Deorbiting payloads to eliminate space debris

Site Info

NROL-123 successfully launched from the MARS Pad 0C, also known as Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2. The launch complex is co-located on the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. In 1997, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority entered into a Reimbursable Space Act Agreement with NASA, which provided for permitted use of land on NASA Wallops Island for the MARS launch pads. Virginia Space Authority also applied for and was granted an FAA license to launch to orbit. This led to the establishment of the Virginia Space Authority Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, located on the southern portion of NASA Wallops Island. The Virginia Spaceport Authority, a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, owns and operates MARS. NASA Wallops partners with Virginia Spaceport Authority to provide various support services to MARS launches.

Electron Illustration
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For more than 60 years, the NRO has leveraged innovation and strategic partnerships to develop, acquire, launch, and operate America's spy satellites.

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