Private space company Rocket Lab has successfully completed the launch of an ultra-light Electron rocket from its New Zealand launch pad. Electron put into orbit three satellites, two of which will ensure the...
Private space company Rocket Lab has successfully completed the launch of an ultra-light Electron rocket from its New Zealand launch pad. Electron put into orbit three satellites, two of which will ensure the collection of meteorological and AIS signals of sea vessels, and the third one will be engaged in surveying the earth's surface.
The only test flight in May 2017 was not perfect: Electron could not enter the correct orbit. Despite this the decision was made to launch commercial satellites already during the second flight.
The Rocket Lab planned to repeat the launch in December 2017, but several times postponed it, and once - a few seconds before the start.
The company began developing a two-stage rocket for the delivery of light cargo in 2012.
The first stage of the flight is provided by nine oxygen-kerosene engines "Rutherford" with a total thrust of 162 kN. After separation, the second stage is controlled by a single motor. Most of the engine parts are printed using a 3D printer.
One launch of the Electron booster costs about $ 5 million.
The Rocket Lab believes that the flight was successful at first glance, but within the next few weeks, the company's specialists will study the data from the satellites to determine how accurately they managed to bring the satellites. The owners of the satellites have already reported that the satellites are in order.
In recent years, demand for both private and public satellites has increased sharply. Modern satellites are compact enough due to the development of electronics. That is why Rocket Lab expects the success in the field of light space cargo delivery. Any company can make an application right on the Rocket Lab site.
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