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

Credit Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab has five Electron vehicles in production, with the next launch expected to take place in the next few months.

Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck told SpaceNews that the succesful launch meant the company would move forward with commercial missions. But there has been a great demand for small rockets that can carry tiny satellites.

It's a big development for the industry, meaning that smaller companies will now be able to have their satellites launched into orbit for a relative fraction of what it cost in the past. As launches increase, Beck says that talks are ongoing with several spaceports and launch locations around the United States for future Rocket Lab flights. Rocket Lab's Electron is in response to this growing market. One was an Earth-imaging Dove satellites built by Planet, and the other were Lemur-2 satellites that monitor weather and track ships, built by Spire. During its first test mission last May, the company managed to get the launch vehicle to space, but it failed to reach orbit due to a telemetry glitch.

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Before customers can start flying, Rocket Lab needed to show that the Electron could do its job, and getting to orbit was a key goal of this test.

This was the second of three planned test launches.

Shortly afterwards, Rocket Lab announced it would be suspending launch attempts until early 2018.

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Study results will be available in the next three to five years. "We want to kick the tires of this test", Papadopoulos said. He told the BBC the scientists were "very close" to using blood tests to screen for cancer as "we have the technology".

Richard Easther, a professor of physics at the University of Auckland, told Stuff.co.nz that Sunday was a "red-letter day for New Zealand," thanks to the Electron's orbital success.

Shortly after, it suspended launch attempts until early 2018. It aims to develop a low-priced transportation system to allow customers to send payloads, first to the moon, and then to destinations throughout the solar system at an affordable price.

"After 30 years in the launch industry with hundreds of launches, each one is still a thrill".

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