Residents in both Texas and Florida not only saw a beautiful sunrise Thursday, rocket launches also gave spectators a reason to run for their cameras.
And those are just the rocket launches that happened in the U.S.
In New Zealand, Rocket Lab launched the Electron rocket Thursday morning, sending a U.S. national security payload into orbit for the National Reconnaissance Office from its launch site on the Mahia Peninsula.
Worldwide that makes four launches in 24 hours.
Here's an overview of the rocket activity on Thursday.
ULA launches missile-detection satellite for Space Force
For fans of the sunrise hour, ULA launched its Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 41 at 6:29 a.m. about 15 minutes before sunrise on Thursday.
The rocket carried a U.S. Space Force missile-detecting satellite to geosynchronous orbit.
The satellite is the sixth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Satellite or SBIRS GEO 6. According to ULA, it will be "an unblinking eye," providing missile detection and early warning for U.S. national security.
According to launch weather officers with the Space Force's 45th Weather Squadron, the weather was 70% favorable for the morning liftoff.
ULA teams rolled the 194-foot Atlas V rocket from the hangar to the launch tower on Tuesday ahead of the launch. Ahead of liftoff, the rocket was fueled with 91,000 gallons of liquid fuel and 200,000 pounds of solid propellant that powered the rocket off the planet.
Blue Origin launches 6th group of space tourists to suborbital space
On the heels of its fifth successful human flight to the edge of space, Blue Origin launched its sixth group of space tourists from its West Texas launch site near Van Horn.
The launch window opened at 8:30 a.m. CDT, and the New Shepard Rocket launched with its crew just after 9:50 a.m.
The mission is known as New Shepard 22 (NS-22) for the 22nd spaceflight of Blue Origin's reusable rocket.
The crew launching on Thursday included Dude Perfect sports and comedy group cofounder Coby Cotton, Portuguese entrepreneur Mário Ferreira, British-American mountaineer Vanessa O’Brien, technology leader Clint Kelly III, Egyptian engineer Sara Sabry and telecommunications executive Steve Young.
The flight lasted just over 10 minutes from launch to landing, with a few minutes of weightlessness above 330,000 feet. As the crew capsule reached altitude, the audio from inside the spacecraft captured some of the excitement.
"We're floating!" one of the crew members exclaimed. Another said, "look at the blackness," referring to the darkness of space.
On the way back down, as the capsule parachutes deployed, slowing the spacecraft for landing, a little nervous energy was coming from the capsule.
"We're not gonna die!" someone shouted after the main parachutes deployed. "I'm sweating profusely," one of the crew said.
Private citizens can fly with Blue Origin if they pay for the seat or the company works with nonprofits like Space for Humanity, which sponsors people to fly on suborbital flights.
Through a sponsorship from Space for Humanity, Sabry became the first person from Egypt to achieve spaceflight.
The international collective MoonDAO purchased Cotton's seat for about $1.25 million, reports Quartz. The group purchased another seat for a MoonDAO member on New Shepard, but the passenger hasn't been revealed yet.
SpaceX launches South Korean moon satellite
Just about 12 hours later on Thursday and a few miles from where ULA launched, SpaceX launched a South Korean moon spacecraft on a Falcon 9 rocket.
The Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter, nicknamed Danuri, is the first lunar spacecraft from Korea's growing space program by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute. Danuri will look for areas of interest for future moon missions, including a possible landing site for a future mission planned for 2030.
In June, Korea recently celebrated the first successful launch of its rocket called Nuri. The new space program said its maiden launch in October 2021 was mostly a success. However, the rocket failed to deliver a test satellite to orbit.