losangelesnewstoday.com
losangelesnewstoday.com February 25, 2018


Rocket Lab Launches 2nd Test Flight of Electron Small-Satellite Booster

22 January 2018, 02:13 | Kristen Gross

SUPPLIED Rocket Lab will attempt to launch 'Still Testing' between 2.30pm and 6.30pm on Saturday

Rocket Lab will attempt to launch'Still Testing between 2.30pm and 6.30pm on Saturday

A rocket launched from New Zealand has successfully reached orbit carrying commercial satellites.

The US/New Zealand company has developed revolutionary technology which allows for rocket launches at a fraction of the price of a conventional launch. In May, the first Electron vehicle failed to reach orbit. That's why the company's Electron rocket isn't very big itself.

Celebrating the launch, Rocket Lab - which was founded by Peter Beck, a New Zealander, in 2006 - called the achievement the "beginning of a new era in commercial access to space". But with a launcher like the Electron, small satellite operators can potentially pay for an entire rocket ride for their hardware, and Rocket Lab says individual flights may start as low as $4.9 million.

Yesterday's launch followed the company's first launch last May, in which the rocket got to space but did not make it to orbit after range safety officials had to kill the flight. Rocket Lab said that if the mishap hadn't occurred, the Electron would have made it to orbit.

The flight will be the company's second and will carry small Earth-imaging satellites for USA companies Planet Labs and Spire Global.

'Ron Weasley's flying vehicle ?' Speeding auto 'flies' into second floor of building
A fire caused by the crash was quickly extinguished and both victims were taken out of the vehicle with only minor injuries. Firefighters removed the driver and passenger from the auto while it was still hanging from the building.

Then Rocket Lab also had some difficulty getting this second test flight off the ground.

The company has become the second in the world to have put something in orbit, and New Zealand the 11th nation.

"Electron is orbital. Successful payload deployment", the company tweeted. Rocket Lab says the rocket fills a niche in the commercial launch market underserved by other satellite boosters.

"After 30 years in the launch industry with hundreds of launches, each one is still a thrill". Its smaller size is meant to increase affordability and launch flexibility for customers with smaller payloads. But Rocket Lab does have five completed Electron rockets available, and expects to fly again in "early 2018".



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