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

"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.

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Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.