Birds Of A Feather is a dedicated mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).

Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) develops and operates unique and innovative intelligence satellites to meet national security needs.

The NRO competitively awarded the contract under the Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract vehicle, which allows the NRO to explore new launch opportunities that can provide a streamlined, commercial approach for getting small satellites into space.

NROL-151 Mission Emblem

About the Mission Emblem

For more than six decades, the NRO has answered the hardest national security-related questions with bold, innovative technology, and NROL-151 stands firm in this tradition. The NROL-151 mission logo is a light-hearted way to wish NROL-151 good fortune and launch on its mission.

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. This will be the 27th and 28th launch of the Electron rocket.

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

Launch Complex 1

Birds Of A Feather lifted off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. Launch Complex 1 is the world’s only private orbital launch range and close to 50 small satellites have been launched from the site since Rocket Lab began launching to orbit in January 2018.

Launch Complex 1 is licensed to launch every 72 hours and can accommodate up to 120 flights per year. With orbital inclinations from sunsynchronous through to 39 degrees within reach, and responsive launch capability on hand, Launch Complex 1 offers small satellites unprecedented access to space.

Initially opened in 2016 with a single pad and vehicle hangar, Launch Complex 1 has grown to include extensive range control operations and vehicle integration facilities equipped to process two Electron vehicles simultaneously. The site is also home to two 100K class cleanrooms for payload processing on site, each with dedicated and private customer facilities.

Construction is underway on a second launch pad at Launch Complex 1 to support rapid turnaround between launches. The pad, due for completion in late 2020, will be Rocket Lab’s third pad following the completion of Launch Complex 2 in December 2019.

Launch Complex 2

Located on Wallops Island, Virginia, Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 2 represents a new responsive launch capability for the United States on home soil. Tailored specifically for U.S. government small satellite missions, Launch Complex 2 can support up to 12 missions per year.

With more than 130 launch opportunities available across all three launch pads in both hemispheres, Rocket Lab customers enjoy incredible control over launch schedule and orbital requirements.

Electron Illustration


The history of the NRO is a story of how opportunity, nessity, and determination coverged to produce an intelligence organization unlike any that had come before.

Learn our History
National Reconnaissance Office - Above and Beyond