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Here's the Story Behind Rocket Lab's 'Look Ma, No Hands' Launch Name

Rocket Lab's Electron mission dubbed "Look Ma, No Hands" blasted off smoothly today (Aug. 19) from a pad in mountainous New Zealand, funny name and all.

The company, which is based in California, has a tradition of giving its missions lighthearted names. Look Ma, No Hands was preceded by "Make It Rain" in late June. Other launches this year were called "That's a Funny-Looking Cactus" and "Two Thumbs Up." Those launches followed a six-month spell of more serious-minded mission names, but Rocket Lab's first missions were named "It's a Test," "Still Testing" and "It's Business Time."

For the Electron's eighth launch, the company turned to the infrastructure that supports the rocket for naming inspiration.

Related: Rocket Lab Electron Booster Launches 4 Satellites Into Orbit

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Rocket Lab launched an Electron rocket on the "Look Ma, No Hands" mission to orbit four cubesats into orbit from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand on Aug. 19, 2019.

The Rocket Lab Electron booster carrying the "Look Ma, No Hands" mission stands in launch position, with its strongback support structure (left) in place ahead of a successful launch of four cubesats from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand on Aug. 19, 2019. (Image credit: Rocket Lab)
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Rocket Lab launched an Electron rocket on the "Look Ma, No Hands" mission to orbit four cubesats into orbit from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand on Aug. 19, 2019.

A closeup of the Electron rocket and its strongback support structure. (Image credit: Rocket Lab)
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Rocket Lab launched an Electron rocket on the "Look Ma, No Hands" mission to orbit four cubesats into orbit from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand on Aug. 19, 2019.

Rocket Lab launched the Electron booster at 8:12 a.m. EDT (1212 GMT) on Aug. 19, 2010. It was 12:12 a.m. Aug. 20 at the Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand launch site. (Image credit: Rocket Lab)
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Rocket Lab launched an Electron rocket on the "Look Ma, No Hands" mission to orbit four cubesats into orbit from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand on Aug. 19, 2019.

"Look Ma, No Hands" was the eighth Rocket Lab launch using an Electron booster. Here's a look at the previous seven flights. (Image credit: Rocket Lab)

"Before liftoff, Electron is secured to the launch pad by the strongback and its top clamp," Max Munsey, a spokesperson for Rocket Lab in the company's launch operations team, said during today's launch broadcast.

"The top clamp opens up and the strongback retreats away from Electron to clear away for launch," Munsey said. "Once Electron is free from the strongback's grasp, it's 'look ma, no hands' for Electron."

That "no hands" moment came without incident about 6 minutes before today's 8:12 a.m. EDT (1212 GMT) liftoff, which occurred at 12:12 a.m. Tuesday local time at the launch site on Māhia Peninsula.

Email Meghan Bartels at mbartels@space.com or follow her @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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