Rocket Lab to Launch 1st Business Mission Tonight: Watch It Stay

Cesar Mills
November 13, 2018

Several of the six small satellite payloads on Rocket Lab's It's Business Time mission can be seen in this view from the booster's upper stage, with the Earth providing a brilliant backdrop in space.

The Electron rocket also carried a so-called "drag sail" technology demonstration, which is created to pull old, inactive satellites down into Earth's atmosphere where they burn up and reduce the amount of space junk in orbit.

Electron - two-stage rocket ultralight class that can send in low earth orbit, up to 225 pounds.

Second, the successful launch of Electron was held in January 2018.

The plan is for Rocket Lab's second commercial flight to launch in as soon as a fortnight, and Beck says so far everything's on track to meet that deadline - which would put his company ahead of its aggressive timeline to reach a monthly launch frequency by the end of this year, fortnightly by the end of next year and weekly by 2020.

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

There are many budding competitors to Rocket Lab (they include a Richard Branson effort that will launch rockets an "airborne platform" - or a modified Boeing 747). It makes a 56-foot tall rocket (Electron) versus SpaceX's 230-foot tall rocket (Falcon 9) and charges US$5.7 million per launch.

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Photograph courtesy of Rocket Lab.

Rocket Lab's rivals have not yet pulled off an orbital launch, which means it is at the front of an increasingly crowded pack of rocket startups that want to launch smallsats for businesses and researchers.

The customers who used the most recent vehicle included Spire, a company that uses satellites to track ships, planes and weather from orbit and Fleet Space systems which hopes to provide communications for internet.

"We will be in space less than few months after making the decision to join the mission".

Beck says they're just getting started.

"Anybody that owns a rocket company and tells you it's smooth sailings from here is living in a different world", Beck said. "With the Electron launch vehicle, rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites", Beck said in a statement.

The company has designed its factories in New Zealand and California to build one rocket per week.

Other reports by GizPress

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