Rocket Lab's Electron rocket poised for second test launch in December


By: Theo Nichols

December 1, 2017




Electron Rocket, Credit: Rocket Lab


Rocket Lab has announced it is opening a ten day launch window beginning on December 8th for the second test launch of the Electron Rocket. Each day, a four-hour launch window will open at 2:30 p.m New Zealand time. The Rocket Lab team will only proceed with the test launch if conditions are perfect.

“Once again, we’re expecting to scrub multiple times as we wait for perfect conditions and make sure everything on the vehicle is performing as it should,” Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said in a statement.

In Rocket Lab’s first test launch of the Electron rocket in May, a telemetry error--not an issue with the rocket--forced safety officials to terminate the launch. While the Electron rocket failed to reach orbit, it was the first orbital-class launch vehicle to reach space from a private launch facility.


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For the second test launch, the Electron Rocket will carry two payloads on-board: an imaging cubesat from Planet and two Spire weather and ship-tracking satellites. “We analysed more than 25,000 channels of data from flight one, and we’re eager to learn more from this test flight. This is the first test carrying customer payloads and we’ll be monitoring everything closely as we attempt to reach orbit,” Peter Beck added.

If the test launch is successful, Rocket Lab will end testing and proceed with launching the various customers on its launch manifest, including Moon Express, which is vying for the Google Lunar X Prize, and NASA.

Rocket Lab, based out of Huntington Beach, CA, manufactures the Electron rocket, which is built for high-frequency and low cost smallsat launches. Rocket Lab conducts Electron launch operations at a private launch facility in New Zealand.


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