Historic day for Rocket Lab with flawless launch

13 November, 2018, 10:53 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Rocket Lab's Electron rocket on the launch pad as seen from space

The Mahia launch is being commanded from Rocket Lab's new rocket factory in Mount Wellington, Auckland.

Delayed from this past spring, the "It's Business Time" launch marks the beginning of Rocket Lab's acceleration toward launching at a weekly rate. On board will be seven payloads, including a demonstration drag sail to practice de-orbiting space junk and a student-led experiment for the city of Irvine's CubeSat STEM program.

Six satellites onboard a rocket launched from the Mahia Peninsula have all been successfully deployed into orbit.

It focuses on delivering small payloads, such as research satellites, into orbit at low costs.

Liftoff of the Electron rocket came at 4:50 p.m. Their massive rockets were lucky to fly once a month and typically carried bus-sized satellites.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Peter Beck said that the company's services were much in demand and as such the team would be swiftly moving onto "the incredibly exciting ELaNa 19 mission for NASA" in the next few weeks.

Sunday's live-streamed take-off was the third attempt at the mission after technical difficulties in April and June. One among them was a drag sail demonstrator, mainly created to practice de-orbiting space junk in orbit.

The two-stage Electron vehicle lifted off from New Zealand's Māhia Peninsula Sunday afternoon (Monday morning EST). "It really is business time".

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Rocket Lab most recent funding round was in 2017, when it raised US$75m at a post-money valuation of more than $1b.

After the rocket's booster separated from the second stage and fell into the open, the second stage's single Rutherford engine (a mostly 3D-printed design with an electric-pump-fed engine) took the rest of the payload into orbit. While the company spent some of that time addressing issues with the Electron rocket, Beck told Ars that most of the company's work has been done to scale the company's operations.

Rocket Lab are also constructing a second pad on the East Coast of the US.

Previously published footage stream final launch of Delta II rocket with the ice probe.

Beck says the company will seek to raise more funding.

The new nanotechnology space race started about a decade ago and focuses more on private innovation rather than competition between rival countries. IRVINE01, as it is called, is also the first satellite that will have Accion Systems' electrospray thrust modules, tiny modular things that are highly efficient and flawless for small craft, according to Tech Crunch. And he's confident Rocket Lab will be one of them, he said.

It carried six satellites into low earth orbit.



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