Now He's Taking on SpaceX", "Rocket Lab's Atea-1 New Zealand's First Rocket Takes A Dive", "NZ's first space launch saved by $6 replacement part", "Coromandel, we have a problem: hunt on for missing rocket", "New Zealand company heads to space with first launch", "Rocket Lab Completes Flight Qualification for Electron's Rutherford Engine", "NZ to get its own space programme by 2015", "Rocket Lab unveils world's first battery rocket engine", "A 3D-Printed, Battery-Powered Rocket Engine", "Rocket Lab's Rutherford Engine Qualified for Flight", "Rocket Lab Completes Post-Flight Analysis", "Telemetry glitch kept first Electron rocket from reaching orbit", "Rocket Lab's Electron rocket reaches space, but not orbit, in first test flight", "Blast off! “There is this New Space wave that Planet is very much at the forefront of and Rocket Lab is very much at the forefront of,” says Safyan. Rocket Lab is counting down to its 15th mission, and its fifth this year. 07:08 PM . Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket is seen venting oxygen vapors during a countdown in New Zealand on Wednesday (U.S. time). [1] Internet entrepreneur and fellow New Zealander Mark Rocket was the seed investor and co-director from 2007 to 2011. The company wants access to space every month, so they can produce their satellites in small batches, send them up, iterate, and launch the next generation. “It's just part of the industry,” says Barna. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. RocketLaunch.Live. And pending analysis of this seemingly successful test, Rocket Lab will skip its planned third test and jump straight into official operations, in early 2018. First, it's an homage to NASA’s old missions, on whose shoulders they stand. This New Goldilocks Rocket Is Juuust Right for Small Satellites, The Race to Rule the High-Flying Business of Satellite Imagery, Upending the Space Biz With Satellites for You and You and You. LC-43/3, Plesetsk Cosmodrome Russia. And so “Still Testing” became the name of Rocket Lab’s second launch, which took place on January 20, at around 8:45 pm Eastern Standard Time. For real time launch updates, follow Rocket Lab on Twitter and Facebook. [18] The launch took place off the coast of New Zealand, from the private island (the Great Mercury Island) of Michael Fay, a New Zealand banker and investor. The launch marked the beginning of a new era in commercial access to space. The interplanetary version will have a 40 kg (88 lb) payload capacity. “We know that a million things have to go perfectly for this to be successful,” she said. The projected cost is less than US$5 million per launch.[48]. [68] It is intended for the production of propellant tanks and stage builds, and is in charge of the overall integration of launch vehicles for Launch Complex 1. In 2020, Rocket Lab moved its headquarters to Long Beach, California. Depending on the orbital inclination (37° to Sun-synchronous orbit), it is expected to have a maximum payload capacity of 170 kg (370 lb). [52][53][54], On 21 January 2018 at 01:43 UTC, their second rocket, on a flight named "Still Testing", launched, reached orbit and deployed three CubeSats for customers Planet Labs and Spire Global. Still Testing carried a Dove Pioneer Earth-imaging satellite for Planet, as well as two Lemur-2 satellites for weather and ship tracking company Spire. Jenny Barna met Peter Beck before she had her current job, as the director of launch at Spire, whose satellites aim to keep track of aeronautical and nautical-nautical traffic, as well as weather. The launch company Rocket Lab sent three small satellites to orbit during a test flight from New Zealand. The purpose of First Light standalone mission is to demonstrate the new (as compared to "plain" kick stage) systems for operating in orbit as a long-duration standalone satellite. [1][9], The Electron test program began in May 2017,[10][11] with commercial flights announced by the company to occur at a price listed in early 2018 as US$5.7 million. NASA's DSCOVR satellite is sending back some of the most amazing images of earth ever seen, including the moon passing over our planet, beamed back from a million miles away. [34] In December 2019, they flight tested the reentry technology — a Rocket Lab proprietary aerothermal decelerator — on Electron flight number 10, and were able to decelerate the rocket and successfully bring it through the space-to-dense-atmosphere transition. LC-43/3, Plesetsk Cosmodrome Russia. In the next decade, 3,483 small satellites (between 1 and 100 kilograms) will go to space, generating just over $2 billion of launch revenue, according to the Small Satellite Markets, 4th edition report, which research and consulting firm Northern Sky Research released last month. Live coverage and the most up-to-date schedule of all upcoming Rocket Lab launches. RocketLaunch.Live. When Barna spoke of “Still Testing” a few days before the initial launch window, she was straight-up about the possibility that this particular rocket wouldn't carry the eggs safely to space. HyperCurie is electrically pumped. Rocket Lab is a private American aerospace manufacturer and small satellite launch service provider with a wholly owned New Zealand subsidiary. A second launch of Ātea-1 was not attempted. [31] In May 2017, the investments of the Crown agency Callaghan Innovation into Rocket Lab over the years was reported to total NZ$15 million. [63] HyperCurie is an evolution of the Curie engine, which comes in a monopropellent version and a bipropellant version, while the HyperCurie is a hypergolic version. The VLM reportedly required no special handling, was non-toxic, water soluble, had low sensitivity to shock, a high ignition point, and was barely flammable in atmosphere. As an instrumentation dart, the payload was ballistic; its trajectory depended only on the boost phase of flight. While Rocket Lab's first Electron didn’t explode and did reach space—and so gets at least an A- for its first attempt—“It’s a Test” didn’t quite get to orbit. Besides, says Mike Safyan, Planet's director of launch, “we picked one we wouldn't miss too much": a sat named Pioneer. On that mission, the Electron rocket lifted the First Light and the customer satellite, Capella 2, to orbit; then the First Light satellite, acting in the capacity of a kick stage (final rocket stage which inserts the payload satellite into desired orbit), inserted the customer satellite into its orbit and then went on to begin its own orbital mission as a standalone satellite. (if available) … WIRED is where tomorrow is realized. [19], In December 2010, Rocket Lab was awarded a U.S. government contract from the Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS) to study a low cost space launcher to place CubeSats into orbit. But why on Earth would a satellite company choose a rocket-in-progress when there are so many reliable launchers out there? Vertical Integration. API; Premium; About; Articles; Stats; Launch Schedule . To revist this article, visit My Profile, then View saved stories. ", "Rocket Lab selects Wallops as first U.S. launch site, readies Electron for November launch", "Space Base in New Zealand Picked to Start Private Trips to Orbit", "Rocket Lab chooses Mahia for space launches", "New Zealand space industry prepared for takeoff", "Rocket Lab Opens Private Orbital Launch Site in New Zealand", "Rocket Lab selects Wallops for U.S. launch site", "Rocket Lab inaugurates U.S. launch site",, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 24 October 2020, at 03:14. [15], On 4 July 2020, an issue during the second-stage burn of flight 13, named "Pics or It Didn't Happen", caused Electron to fail to get into orbit and its payloads were lost. [20][21][22][23] This agreement with NASA enables the company to use NASA resources such as personnel, facilities, and equipment for commercial launch efforts. Ad Choices, The Little Rocket That Could Sends Real Satellites to Space. [51] The first test flight took place on 25 May 2017 at 04:20 UTC from Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand's North Island. “It's really the next logical step,” says Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s founder. The vehicle is capable of delivering payloads of 150 kg to a 500 km Sun-synchronous orbit,[47] the target range for the growing small satellite market. [58], Based on Rocket Lab's Electron kick stage, Photon is a satellite bus. Rocket Lab does it all - from processing raw materials right through to launching satellites into orbit. It’s a double meaning, says Safyan. Sign out Sign in. [56] Humanity Star re-entered Earth's atmosphere and burned up in March 2018. [33], Rocket Lab began to develop reusable first-stage technology in 2018, after previously stating publicly that they had no intention of attempting to recover and then reuse their small low-cost launch vehicles. [62][63] The low Earth orbit version of Photon can take 130 kg (290 lb) to Sun-synchronous orbit. [26], Funding was obtained from Khosla Ventures in 2013,[27] and Callaghan Innovation (a Crown entity of New Zealand) and Bessemer Venture Partners in 2014. But that doesn’t mean they’ll ever only use Rocket Lab. The short answer is that smallsats—which the Electron was built to transport, exclusively—are by nature expendable. 1UPDATE 12:08 AM EST 1/21/2018: This story has been updated to include new satellites Rocket Lab launched recently. [71] The site is licensed to launch rockets every 72 hours for 30 years. Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit", "Rocket Lab secretly launched a disco ball satellite on its latest test flight", "The Humanity Star satellite has fallen back to Earth after its short mission in space", "Rocket Lab—yep, Rocket Lab—has a plan to deliver satellites to the Moon", "How small launcher Rocket Lab plans to pull off its first mission to the Moon next year", "A Closer Look at Rocket Labs' Technical Development", "Exclusive Inside Look at Rocket Lab's Previously-secret new Mega Factory! [7] The payload was not recovered, but this was not deemed necessary. The launch company Rocket Lab has amusing names for its missions. Or Orbital. Rocket Lab said that it will use Sinclair technology on its Photon line of small satellite buses, and that it will help Sinclair increase production of small satellite components for sale to other firms. [19] Another early investor into Rocket Labs was Stephen Tindall, a New Zealand entrepreneur and start-up investor. Next Rocket Lab Launch OCT 25. Second meaning: They are pioneers. All rights reserved. The VLM was reported to be thixotropic, so that it behaves as a pseudo solid until a shear force is applied, at which point it flows like a liquid. In this future world where thousands more smallsats provide environmental, economic, and even political intelligence, as well as Earth-covering internet, the test-steps necessary to get on up to space quickly, cheaply, and precisely seem worth the risk not just to Planet and Spire but, perhaps, to you and me. That's a lot! To view this site you can download a newer version of Internet Explorer. Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 (also known as Mahia Launch Complex or Spaceport) is a commercial spaceport located close to Ahuriri Point at the southern tip of Mahia Peninsula, on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island.It is owned and operated by private spaceflight company Rocket Lab and supports launches of the company's Electron rocket for CubeSat nanosatellites. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. “We've got a lot of customers that need to get on orbit,” says Beck.