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Rocket Lab Launcher

fredymac

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Rocket Lab of New Zealand seems to be the sole survivor of the NASA Venture Class launcher development program. Firefly Space Systems apparently went under due to financial circumstances and Virgin Galactic never really got anywhere. Venture class launchers cost around $8-10 Million and can put several hundred pounds into orbit.

Rocket Lab is now attempting their first launch from their test stand in New Zealand. They are keeping the launch private with no video feeds. The rocket uses nine 3D printed engines of about 5000lbs thrust each. They say they can print up an engine in about 24 hours. Batteries and electric motors are used to drive the turbopumps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ngvow6egisg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBiZqHpZBV4
 

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TomS

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Funny that Moon Express is back in the news as well. They really need Rocket Lab to deliver a launcher by the end of the year. (In the article, the boss of Moon Express says thay could use Launcher One or some other launcher instead, if its ready for the end of 2017 timeline, but let's be realistic here...)

https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/05/moon-express-chairman-believes-his-teams-ready-to-go-for-the-end-of-this-year/
 

fredymac

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Success.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QekgYrFGreU
 

Michel Van

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Congratulation, New Zealand is now a Spacefaring Nation

Note on Firefly Space Systems
The Texas company filed for Bankruptcy in April 13, 2017.
After losing there major investor in October 2016.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly_Space_Systems

Virgin Galactic is under major reorganisation after 2014 accident
All personal involved in LauncherOne move into a new company called Virgin Orbit.
LauncherOne is redesigned, will be bigger and carry more fuel, too heavy for WhiteKnightTwo
Next to that WhiteKnightTwo planes have issues with cracks in the spars connect with the fuselage
So LauncherOne will be carry and launch from a former Virgin Atlantic Boeing 747
First test launch of LauncherOne is schedule for end of 2017

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LauncherOne
 

Grey Havoc

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BBC report. One or two minor howlers. Such as the claim it was the first launch from a private site.
 

Michel Van

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Grey Havoc said:
BBC report. One or two minor howlers. Such as the claim it was the first launch from a private site.
Not so quite wrong !
SpaceX use USAF and NASA launch complex and modified then for there Falcons.
in 2018 SpaceX get there private launch complex operational in Texas
Blue Origin got a Private launch site in Texas for Suborbital New Shepard and use NASA launch complex for New Glenn in 2019

So Rocket Lab is first to launch from complete private launch site into orbit or in this case almost orbital
 

bobbymike

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http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/06/rocket-labs-successfully-launches-mostly-3d-printed-rocket-into-space-and-could-herald-price-breakthrough-to-5-million-per-launch.html
 

Michel Van

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Test Flight 1 view from rocket
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vE2AnwJ2Qs

second stage operation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUwbe6qjqUk
 

fredymac

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2nd launch achieves orbit.

https://youtu.be/eg5234BOED8
 

Flyaway

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Rocket Lab launch also tested new kick stage

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The successful launch of Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket Jan. 20 also tested a kick stage designed to circularize the orbits of its satellite payloads.

The company said Jan. 23 that the Electron carried a kick stage for the two Lemur-2 cubesats it launched for Spire. The kick stage separated from the Electron’s upper stage and, after a 40-minute coast phase, fired an engine called Curie to circularize its orbits before releasing the cubesats.
http://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-launch-also-tested-new-kick-stage/
 

TomS

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Turns out SpaceX wasn't alone in having a super-secret payload. Rocket Lab had one too...

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/rocket-lab-launched-a-secret-payload-into-space-last-weekend/

 

Michel Van

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A Disco..ball ?

At least is not something like that:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt_Kn4DggPg
 

Flyaway

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The controversy as now reached the papers in the UK.

Astronomers enraged by huge man-made star that has 'vandalised' the sky

“This is stupid, vandalises the night sky and corrupts our view of the cosmos,” wrote David Kipping, an astronomer from Columbia University.
Good point this.

Others pointed out there was little need for an artificial star to provoke our wonder about the night sky – since there’s already plenty of objects up there to do that anyway. “Looking up at the moon and the planets in the night sky invokes similar feelings of wonder – why do we need this artificial disco ball in orbit,” asked planetary scientist Meg Schwamb.
Astronomer Caleb A Scharf wrote in Scientific American that the light seemed a damning indictment of our times. People are gradually getting in the way of the natural rhythms of our world and denying themselves the chance to see the real night sky, he said, and this appeared to be a vision of that.

“It might have been cute to do this in the late 1950s, when Sputnik was fresh on our minds, when there was a genuine sense of wonder (and concern) about the future space age,” he wrote. “But in 2018 it feels to me like yet another invasion of my personal universe, another flashing item asking for eyeballs. It’s hogging some of that precious resource, the dark night sky, polluting part of the last great wilderness.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/man-made-star-new-zealand-night-sky-humanity-space-bright-rocket-lab-a8180061.html
 

Flyaway

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Technical issue delays next Rocket Lab Electron launch

Rocket Lab is postponing its next launch by a few weeks because of a technical problem, but the company says it is optimistic about its long-term prospects as demand for its small launch vehicle grows.
In an interview during the 34th Space Symposium here, Rocket Lab Chief Executive Peter Beck said that engineers detected “unusual behavior” in a motor controller for one of the nine engines in its first stage. “We want to take some time to review that data,” he said on the decision to delay the launch.
http://spacenews.com/technical-issue-delays-next-rocket-lab-electron-launch/
 

Grey Havoc

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https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-11/rocket-launch-in-new-zealand-brings-quick-cheap-space-access
 

Michel Van

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This time it's business

By the way,
they complete soon a second launch pad at NASA Wallops Island
also planned a third Pad at Kennedy Space Center for low-inclination orbits.
and fourth at Pacific Spaceport complex, Alaska

Overview of the successful mission
 

TomcatViP

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Woaw, Li battery packs discarded at high speed in the upper atmosphere?!!! That 's total craziness guys. (see at 21:10)
 

Michel Van

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They have News
a 30 years deal for launch ever 72 hours one Electron rocket from New Zeeland
At NASA Wallops Island LC-2 will be finish and operational end of 2019
Oh and there was this


Full presentation by Rocket Lab
 
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Flyaway

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Rocket Lab Announces Reusability Plans For Electron Rocket

Rocket Lab details plans to increase launch frequency by recovering and re-launching Electron’s first stage.

Huntington Beach, California. 6 August 2019 – Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has revealed plans to recover and re-fly the first stage of its Electron launch vehicle. The move aims to enable Rocket Lab to further increase launch frequency by eliminating the need to build a new first stage for every mission.

Work on Rocket Lab’s Electron first stage reuse program began in late 2018, at the end of the company’s first year of orbital launches. The plan to reuse Electron’s first stage will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will see Rocket Lab attempt to recover a full Electron first stage from the ocean downrange of Launch Complex 1 and have it shipped back to Rocket Lab’s Production Complex for refurbishment. The second phase will see Electron’s first stage captured mid-air by helicopter, before the stage is transported back to Launch Complex 1 for refurbishment and relaunch. Rocket Lab plans to begin first stage recovery attempts in the coming year.

A major step towards Rocket Lab’s reusability plans was completed on the company’s most recent launch, the Make It Rain mission, which launched on 29 June from Launch Complex 1. The first stage on this mission carried critical instrumentation and experiments that provided data to inform future recovery efforts. The next Electron mission, scheduled for launch in August, will also carry recovery instrumentation.

Rocket Lab Founder and Chief Executive Peter Beck says reusing Electron’s first stage will enable Rocket Lab to further increase launch frequency by reducing production time spent building new stages from scratch.

“From day one Rocket Lab’s mission has been to provide frequent and reliable access to orbit for small satellites. Having delivered on this with Electron launching satellites to orbit almost every month, we’re now establishing the reusability program to further increase launch frequency,” says Mr. Beck. “Reusing the stage of a small launch vehicle is a complex challenge, as there’s little mass margin to dedicate to recovery systems. For a long time we said we wouldn’t pursue reusability for this very reason, but we’ve been able to develop the technology that could make recovery feasible for Electron. We’re excited to put that technology into practice with a stage recovery attempt in the coming year.”

ENDS

Images and video content:

 

Michel Van

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Flight 8 will carry a data recorder to study the reuse.

My predictions is that Electron rocket first stage will undergo modification
new interstage with Grid fins and shield container for Ballute and Parachute
shielded because rocket exhaust from second stage

SpaceX had similar issue with that on Falcon1 and attempt of parachute recovery...
 

Flyaway

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Flight 8 will carry a data recorder to study the reuse.

My predictions is that Electron rocket first stage will undergo modification
new interstage with Grid fins and shield container for Ballute and Parachute
shielded because rocket exhaust from second stage

SpaceX had similar issue with that on Falcon1 and attempt of parachute recovery...
According to posts on NSF it was already due to undergo upgrades.
 

NUSNA_Moebius

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It will be interesting to see them develop a high heat/high speed ballute. It's arguably the most challenging piece of the equation.
 

Michel Van

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The Mid Air Recovery that Rocket Lab use in Video, is from PDG Aviation Services.

on Competitors
Vector Launch Inc stop operation
after they CEO Jim Cantrell was replace by John Garvey
because financial issues forced the company to suspend its operations


 
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