Friday , July 30 2021

Rocket Lab spikes the first major launch in an effort to follow Elon Musk's success


Rocket Lab launch "It's Business Time" from Electron Sunday Rocket.

Rocket Lab / Kieran Fanning & Sam Toms

There is a new name in the commercial space, we can hear even more in the coming months. Rocket Lab based in California managed to send six small satellites into orbit on one of the Electron rockets from the company's private launch site in New Zealand on Sunday.

As SpaceX, another California space venture, Rocket Lab aims to be able to launch routinely and cheaply. Sunday's launch was the first full commercial mission and the company filed for a weekly launch in late 2020.

The Sunday mission, named "This is the Time of Business," includes Spire Global's satellite, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Fleet Space Technologies and the Irvine CubeSat Stem Program.

The launch was initially set for April with only four satellites but was delayed several times. Two satellites are added to the payload just weeks before launch.

On the live webcast from the launch, Rocket Lab was mentioned the last minute adding to the manifest as an indication of its ability to get fast space.

"The world is waking up to new normal. With the Electron launch vehicle, fast and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites," founder and CEO Peter Beck said in a statement.

The Electron rocket also carries what is called the "drag sail" technology demonstration, which is designed to pull inactive old satellites into the Earth's atmosphere where they burn and reduce the amount of space garbage in orbit.

The Rocket Lab launch doesn't feature high drama landings like we expected from Jeff Bezos's SpaceX and Blue Origin. In contrast, Electron's secret sauce comes from a 3D printing machine, lightweight composite material and a unique battery-powered fuel pump.

Furthermore, Rocket Lab plans to launch a load of 10 cubes for the NASA ELaNA 19 mission in December, followed by as many as 16 launches in 2019 from the New Zealand facility and the second launch pad is being built on NASA Wallops Island in Virginia.

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