• Sign in to Neowin Faster!

    Create an account on Neowin to contribute and support the site.

Sign in to follow this  

Rocket Lab (updates)

Recommended Posts

Jim K    13,216

Update regarding Rocket Lab.  Looks like they will begin test flights early next year ... just waiting on international launch license. 

Quote

Rocket Lab today announced the flight qualification and acceptance of the first stage booster of the Electron launch vehicle.

 

All primary components of the stage – including engines, vehicle structures, avionics and software systems - were designed, developed and tested in-house at Rocket Lab.

 

“Rocket Lab has had a hugely successful year with qualification of all major vehicle systems, completion of Launch Complex 1 and considerable growth of our team and customer base,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab CEO. 

 

“We will continue to test the vehicle extensively in the lead-up to commercial operations and are looking forward to beginning the test flight program. Our focus with the Electron has been to develop a reliable launch vehicle that can be manufactured in high volumes – our ultimate goal is to make space accessible by providing an unprecedented frequency of launch opportunities.”

 

Rocket Lab plans to begin full vehicle testing in early 2017 once international launch licensing is complete. The tests will occur from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, located on the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand.   

 

 

Rocket Lab

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beittil    573

Well, I suppose the strong arming between VG and Firefly certainly wasn't bad for Rocketlab.

 

VG is nowhere near flight yet, Firefly wasn't either... but they are out of the way as competitor now...

 

I hope 2017 becomes a good year with many launches for RL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

Rocket Lab is in a sweet spot; large enough to launch a decent small sat, small enough they can use battery powered electric pumps on their Rutherford engine.  They eliminate the whole gas generator system, burning all the propellants to make thrust. Kicks the efficiency way the hell up.

Edited by DocM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flyingskippy    167

A truely ingenious design too in that many of the failures of a gas generator cycle engine can be traced to the gas generator itself. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop    5,747

 

 

 

https://www.rocketlabusa.com/

 

Electron Arrives at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1

 

Electron-at-Launch-Complex-2.jpg

credit Rocket Lab

 

Quote

Rocket Lab delivered its first Electron vehicle to Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 late last night marking the beginning of pre-flight checkouts.

 

The rocket was trucked to the Mahia Peninsula from Rocket Lab’s Auckland facility.

 

“It’s an important milestone for our team and for the space industry. In the past, it’s been countries that go to space, not companies,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab's CEO. “Through the innovative use of new technologies our team has created a launch vehicle designed for manufacture at scale. Our ultimate goal is to change our ability to access space.”

 

“Since we commenced this project three years ago, our team has accomplished an incredible amount – the vehicle has gone through rigorous qualification and acceptance testing, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 has been completed and major tracking infrastructure has been installed in remote locations.”

 

Over the coming weeks, a series of tests and checkouts will be conducted at the site before the rocket, named It’s a Test, is signed-off to fly.

 

“We put it out to our team to name the vehicle,” said Beck. “We wanted to acknowledge the intensive research and development Electron has undergone and that continues with these test flights.”

 

The launch, which will be the first orbital launch attempt from New Zealand, is the first of three planned tests before Rocket Lab begins providing customers commercial satellite launches.

 

Electron-at-Launch-Complex-1-Full-shot.j

credit Rocket Lab

 

https://www.rocketlabusa.com/latest/electronarriveslaunchcomplex1/

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop    5,747

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Draggendrop    5,747

Bit more data...

 

Rocket Lab ships first Electron rocket to launch site

 

unspecified-879x485.jpeg

Rocket Lab's first Electron rocket, named "It's a Test," arrived at the company’s Launch Complex 1 facility to kick off pre-flight checkouts ahead of a test campaign consisting of three trial launches. Credit: Rocket Lab 

 

Quote

WASHINGTON — Small satellite launch company Rocket Lab shipped its first orbital launch vehicle to the company’s Launch Complex 1 facility to kick off pre-flight checkouts ahead of a test campaign consisting of three trial launches.

 

The startup had originally planned to commence test launches in 2016, but opted to perform additional ground testing, give its team some downtime around the Christmas holiday, and also complete infrastructure for the launch facility at Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand, Founder and Chief Executive Peter Beck told SpaceNews Feb. 15.

 

Beck said that the first rocket’s name, “It’s a Test,” is indicative of the company’s mindset toward the debut launch as being an extension of the research and development for Electron before it formally enters service.

 

“What we want to do is make sure we come into our commercial manifest with a vehicle that’s well buttoned and ready to go,” said Beck. “We have a lot of customers and commitments. We don’t really have time to have a vehicle that’s still in development.”

 

The Electron launcher is a carbon-composite rocket designed to launch payloads up to 150 kilograms into a 500-kilometer low Earth orbit. Announced customers include Planet, Moon Express, NASA and Spire.

 

Rocket Lab, after launching more than 80 sounding rockets, started development of the orbital Electron launcher three years ago. The company’s long-term goal is to perform roughly one launch a week, providing dedicated missions for small satellite operators.

 

Beck said each of the first three trial launches will scale in difficulty, increasing altitude and payload mass each time so that Rocket Lab can gauge the performance capability of the rocket. Rocket Lab will collect more than 20,000 channels of data from each flight, he said.

“The first test flights are all about generating data,” he said.

 

However, only the first launch will be completely absent of customers. Beck said the second and third test flights will have some customer payloads on board.

 

Rocket Lab cautioned that the probability of abandoned, or scrubbed, launch attempts with the test flights is high due to the nature of the company’s test regime. The company didn’t give a timeframe for launch. Spokesperson Catherine Moreau-Hammond told SpaceNews Feb. 16 that the timing of the launches depends on the progress of Electron checkouts at site.

 

“We expect to notify windows of attempts several weeks in advance of the launch,” she said.

 

“We understand the desire everyone has to get out there and watch,” Beck said in a prepared statement. “History has shown with any test launch program that there is a likelihood of scrubs. We value everyone’s time, and wouldn’t want people waiting around for us.”

 

If all goes as planned, Beck said Rocket Lab wants to launch seven times this year — three tests and four fully-commercial — and 13 or more times in 2018. Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 facility in New Zealand is licensed to launch once every 72 hours, and the company has highlighted the location as one with limited constraints thanks to an absence of much maritime or aviation activity.

http://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-ships-first-electron-rocket-to-launch-site/

 

"Beck said that the first rocket’s name, “It’s a Test,” ".......excellent....:D

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

'Bottle Rocket 1' would have been more fun ;)

 

That said, I'm looking forward to see how well the electric propellant pumps work. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision    2,665
5 hours ago, DocM said:

'Bottle Rocket 1' would have been more fun ;)

 

That said, I'm looking forward to see how well the electric propellant pumps work. 

Me too. There's a lot of potential for upscaling those, just gotta do the baby steps thing and prove the technology. :yes: 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

Here we go....

 

http://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-sets-date-for-first-electron-launch/#sthash.erY2nDeT.dpuf


Rocket Lab sets date for first Electron launch



WASHINGTON — Rocket Lab, the U.S.-New Zealand company developing the Electron small launch vehicle, plans to carry out its first flight in a window that opens May 21.

The company announced May 14 that a 10-day window for the first Electron launch, which the company has dubbed “It’s a Test,” will open at 5 p.m. Eastern May 21 (9 a.m. local time May 22) from the company’s launch site at Mahia Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island.

“We are all incredibly excited to get to this point,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said in a statement about the planned launch. “Our talented team has been preparing for years for this opportunity and we want to do our best to get it right.”
>

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beittil    573

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

 

GO KIWI's!!!! :punk::woot:

 

https://www.rocketlabusa.com/latest/rocket-lab-successfully-makes-it-to-space-2/
 

Quote

 

Rocket Lab broke new ground today when its Electron rocket reached space at 16:23 NZST.

 

Electron lifted-off at 16:20 NZST from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. It was the first orbital-class rocket launched from from a private launch site in the world.

 

“It has been an incredible day and I’m immensely proud of our talented team,” said Peter Beck, CEO and founder of Rocket Lab. “We’re one of a few companies to ever develop a rocket from scratch and we did it in under four years. We’ve worked tirelessly to get to this point. We’ve developed everything in house, built the world’s first private orbital launch range, and we’ve done it with a small team.

 

“It was a great flight. We had a great first stage burn, stage separation, second stage ignition and fairing separation. We didn’t quite reach orbit and we’ll be investigating why, however reaching space in our first test puts us in an incredibly strong position to accelerate the commercial phase of our programme, deliver our customers to orbit and make space open for business,” says Beck.

 

Over the coming weeks, Rocket Lab’s engineers in Los Angeles and Auckland, New Zealand will work through the 25,000 data channels that were collected during. The results will inform measures taken to optimize the vehicle.

 

“We have learnt so much through this test launch and will learn even more in the weeks to come. We’re committed to making space accessible and this is a phenomenal milestone in that journey. The applications doing this will open up are endless. Known applications include improved weather reporting, Internet from space, natural disaster prediction, up-to-date maritime data as well as search and rescue services,” says Beck.

 

Today’s launch was the first of three test flights scheduled for this year. Rocket Lab will target getting to orbit on the second test and look to maximize the payload the rocket can carry.

 

At full production, Rocket Lab expects to launch more than 50 times a year, and is regulated to launch up to 120 times a year. In comparison, there were 22 launches last year from the United States, and 82 internationally.

 

Rocket Lab’s commercial phase will see Electron fly already-signed customers including NASA, Spire, Planet, Moon Express and Spaceflight.

 

 

 

 

Edited by DocM
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

Need some work on roll control, guidance and the rocketcam telemetry, but they're off to a good start.

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision    2,665

Agree with @DocM. That rolling is a problem. Decent first launch, though. They'll figure it out. :yes: 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

Oh, man....contractoritis :angry:

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
flyingskippy    167

Sounds like the in house equipment was functioning nominally. They've demonstrated their equipment works and hopefully won't need the contractor for the next flight. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beittil    573

Sounds like they do actually, the equipment in question was related to vehicle telemetry.

 

Anyway, must be extra sucky to lose your first launch to faulty telemetry from external factors. Who knows how far the rocket could have gotten... Ouch!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unobscured Vision    2,665

No reason for a contractor's gear to do this, at all. That's why they do GSE Testing, lots of it, dress rehearsals, etc, with the equipment, to make sure stuff like this isn't botched in any way. I understand that things can slip by that aren't able to be found during these tests, but ... just ... agh ... that upsets me. It's stupid.

 

Hope the contractor in question gets their [snip] together. Could be hardware-based, could be software.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DocM    16,485

Rocket Lab ✔ @RocketLab
On December 8 NZST, Rocket Lab will open a 10 day window in which our team will attempt to launch our second Electron rocket, Still Testing.
12:16 PM - Nov 29, 2017

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Beittil    573

I hope they make it to orbit this time... They were doing pretty well last time already. Fingers crossed! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.