The company spends 70 percent of its time and money on the Electron project's first stage. If the company can successfully configure the reusable booster technology, then it will be able to send out large payloads on the Electron platform sooner
Fremont, CA: California-based Rocket Lab postponed the launch of the Electron spacecraft after the company decided that it needed to conduct more tests. The Electron platform launch was supposed to be the company's tenth mission and would have also been their first reusable rocket system. This will be the first time that Rocket Lab includes technology designed to help it eventually recover and reuse elements of its launch vehicle. "We're standing down from today's launch attempt to conduct further tests on ground systems. We'll update with a new target launch date soon. The window remains open until 12 December," said the company in a statement.
Rocket Lab's two-stage Electron booster was scheduled to send seven satellites into Earth orbit from New Zealand on 29 November this year. The booster also had a Japanese spacecraft onboard that is expected to create artificial meteor showers. The spacecraft is owned by a Tokyo-based company called ALE that uses microsatellites to simulate particles from meteors. The payload also included microsatellites from Alba Orbital. Rocket Lab was also set to test its recovery instrumentation load on board the Electron vehicle, including guidance and navigation systems, as well as telemetry and flight computer hardware.
This will enable the company to gather real-time data about the process of re-entry for Electron’s first stage, and Rocket Lab will also attempt to make use of a reaction control system to control the orientation of the booster as it re-enters. Reusable booster technology is the key to the future as both SpaceX and Blue Origin have entered the reusable booster technology, and Rocket Lab will look to exploit the same to reduce launch costs.
Currently, the company spends 70 percent of its time and money on the Electron project's first stage. If the company can successfully configure the reusable booster technology, then it will be able to send out large payloads on the Electron platform sooner. The Electron features a similar vertical touch down design like its counterparts from SpaceX and Blue Origin, making use of its engines to slow down its descent.
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