MAY 24, 2017 5:01 AM PDT

Weather Continues to Delay Electron Rocket Maiden Voyage Launch

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

There was a temporary momentum of hype over the weekend for the launch of the Electron Rocket in New Zealand, but such excitement has since been quelled as weather conditions continue to delay its maiden voyage test launch.

The original launch date expectation was Sunday at 5 P.M. Eastern, however it’s now Wednesday and the rocket remains grounded. Fortunately, Rocket Lab, the manufacturers of the Electron Rocket, say they will try again today.

Rocket Lab's Electron Rocket remains grounded as weather conditions continue to remain unfavorable for a maiden voyage launch experiment.

Image Credit: Rocket Lab

“Launch scrubbed for the day due to triboelectrification,” the firm said on Tuesday via Twitter. “Weather set to worsen throughout the day. Will attempt again tomorrow!”

“Weather constraints will reduce in commercial phase,” they said in a follow-up Tweet. “Focus now is testing rocket systems, rather than ability to deal with adverse weather.”

There is a 10-day window of opportunity to launch the rocket, so even if today doesn’t work out, there is some time. One can only hope it launches soon, as it should be quite intriguing to see the actual results instead of just talk.

The Electron Rocket is supposed to be a game-changer for the space launch industry, as the mostly 3D-printed 55-foot rocket is a miniature space-launching system designed to take lighter objects into orbit around the Earth for less than $5 million.

Related: Will plasma rockets revolutionize deep space travel?

Perhaps a highly feasible solution to putting cubesats or smallsats into space more affordably, the Electron Rocket aims to offer competitive pricing when compared to the major commercial space launch companies like Orbital ATK and SpaceX. These launches can cost well over $60 million or more, depending on what’s getting sent to space.

Since this launch is the rocket’s maiden voyage, the rocket is not carrying a payload. Instead, it’s an empty rocket that will prove whether or not the rocket is feasible and help the firm to fix any shortcomings in the rocket so that if can be a reliable form of space shipping in the future.

There is no word about how the rocket launch is expected to go. The firm doesn’t want to over-sell expectations and then under-deliver, so they’ve been pretty modest up to this point. They expect problems to occur and hope to learn from them so they can improve their design.

A second Electron Rocket launch is reportedly planned for later in the Summer, which shouldn’t be much of a problem for the manufacturing team, as 3D-printing is much faster than traditional rocket manufacturing methods.

Source: Rocket Lab

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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