Rocket Lab all set for first commercial satellite launch

April 19, is when Rocket lab has planned to launch its commercial satellite. The launch will take place from the company’s very own launch base that is located in New Zealand. Three other U.S.-owned satellites will also leave with it to check for weather data.

Upcoming Electron launch has two satellites consisting of commercial spacecrafts, one of Spire Global and other of GeoOptics. Both these California based firms are competitors of each other that collect weather and climate details.

There is also a third flight, one of the other commercial Electron rocket but that had two test flights in May 2017 and subsequently in January. There was a maiden Electron launch, which had fallen short of orbit. This glitch was because of a ground tracking error. This error made the safety crew to abort this flight, but the second mission had found success in reaching the orbit.

The January test flight had the Electron deploy four different satellites in the spatial orbit, two of which were commercial CubeSats dedicated to collect weather data for Spire and ship the tracking fleet. The other satellites included a CubeSat for Planet’s Earth-imaging constellation and also a reflective geodesic sphere called Humanity Star that is owned by Rocket lab.

Rocket Lab is known for placing interesting nicknames to their Electron flights. Their first one was “It’s a Test” and second one “Still Testing.” When finally they are ready to operate commercially their next mission was nicknamed as “It’s Business Time.”

The full details of their launch plans are as follows:

  • The fourteen days launch program would begin on April 19 at 8:30 p.m. EDT (0030 GMT and 12:30 p.m. by New Zealand time, April 20).
  • There will be a four hours long launch window available for each day of the schedule.
  • Rocket Lab’s space base Mahia Peninsula that is located east coast of the North Island of New Zealand would be the venue for the electron rocket launch.
  • The Electron rocket is two staged with dimensions of 55 feet (17 meters) height and around 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) of a diameter.
  • The structure is carbon composite filled with kerosene as well as liquid oxygen tanks to give power to 10 Rutherford engines, nine of which are for the first stage while one for the second stage. These are in-house Rocket Lab developed.

This Electron is said to be of just about perfect size that is capable of hauling small satellites into orbit for low-cost missions.