MAY 25, 2017 5:45 AM PDT

Following Delays, Electron Rocket Finally Launches Into Space

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Unfavorable weather conditions resulted in four days of delay for the maiden voyage of Rocket Lab’s Electron Rocket. As the firm and its followers grew impatient with the seemingly endless delays, the team took a golden launch opportunity the moment it popped up and officially launched the rocket.

Since media outlets were not permitted at the New Zealand launch site, there wasn’t a live stream like there are of several other commercial rocket launches around the world. Nevertheless, Rocket Lab recorded the launch themselves and shared footage via their social media channels, such as this on on the firm's Twitter page:

 

 

The Electron Rocket reportedly made it into space, but unfortunately didn’t get high enough to be classified as “in orbit,” this essentially means that while the launch was successful, the Rocket Lab team will have make tweaks to the propellant so the rocket gets more push next time.

"It was a great flight," Peter Beck of Rocket Lab said after admitting the rocket didn’t quite make it as high as they had wished. "We'll be investigating why, however reaching space in our first test puts us in an incredibly strong position to accelerate the commercial phase of our program, deliver our customers to orbit and make space open for business."

Since the Electron Rocket didn’t have a payload on its maiden voyage, engineers will have to compensate for added weight (up to 330 pounds) in the future, as more weight means more fuel usage. While back-to-back launches of the Electron Rocket are not planned, the firm will be launching a second one sometime by the end of this Summer.

Being that many commercial rocket companies currently fare science projects into space, but at higher costs, many projects try to hitch a ride on existing launches by chipping in for the cost to launch the rocket. On the other hand, Electron Rocket is a smaller class of orbit-capable rockets that aims to make launches significantly cheaper so more projects can go into space on their own.

Compared to a $60 million or more flight via SpaceX on a 230-foot Falcon 9 rocket, the 55-foot Electron Rocket only costs about $5 million per launch, which adds up to significant savings and could enable space transport for more scientific projects than ever before.

The cost-savings reportedly come not only from flying a smaller rocket, but also the fact that the components to build it are 3D-printed, which saves on manufacturing. Unfortunately, Electron Rocket can’t be landed and re-used like the competition, which is one downside.

Being that the Electron Rocket is so much smaller than the full-sized competition, the cargo it can take into space is also limited. Nevertheless, it’s hoped that future cubesat and smallsat missions will take advantage of Electron Rocket for what it’s worth.

Source: BBC

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.
You May Also Like
JUL 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Reveal the Biggest-Ever 3D Map of the Universe
JUL 26, 2020
Scientists Reveal the Biggest-Ever 3D Map of the Universe
After five years of research, an international team over 100 astrophysicists from around 30 institutions worldwide has r ...
JUL 31, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How Many Missions to Mars Have Been Successful?
JUL 31, 2020
How Many Missions to Mars Have Been Successful?
It’s commonly said that roughly half of all missions to Mars have succeeded- while roughly half have failed. But a ...
AUG 16, 2020
Space & Astronomy
What Will the End of the Universe Look Like?
AUG 16, 2020
What Will the End of the Universe Look Like?
Matt Caplan, a theoretical physicist at Illinois State University, has calculated when the last supernova will happen in ...
OCT 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Ultra-hot Exoplanet Vaporizes Iron in its Atmosphere
OCT 09, 2020
Ultra-hot Exoplanet Vaporizes Iron in its Atmosphere
Researchers from the University of Bern in Germany have found that an exoplanet, known as WASP-121b, is so hot that it c ...
NOV 19, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Martian Water Vapor Gets Swept Into Space
NOV 19, 2020
Martian Water Vapor Gets Swept Into Space
Mars was once a planet with oceans of water. So what happened to all of it? Researchers used a tool called MAVEN (Mars A ...
NOV 20, 2020
Space & Astronomy
The Universe is Getting Hotter, not Cooler, as it Expands
NOV 20, 2020
The Universe is Getting Hotter, not Cooler, as it Expands
Up until now, scientists have theorized that as the Universe expands, its temperature has gradually declined. New resear ...
Loading Comments...