Kryten

The first Electron has arrived at the launch site

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Rocket Lab delivered its first Electron vehicle to Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 late last night marking the beginning of pre-flight checkouts.

The rocket was trucked to the Mahia Peninsula from Rocket Lab’s Auckland facility.

“It’s an important milestone for our team and for the space industry. In the past, it’s been countries that go to space, not companies,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab's CEO. “Through the innovative use of new technologies our team has created a launch vehicle designed for manufacture at scale. Our ultimate goal is to change our ability to access space.”

“Since we commenced this project three years ago, our team has accomplished an incredible amount – the vehicle has gone through rigorous qualification and acceptance testing, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 has been completed and major tracking infrastructure has been installed in remote locations.”

Over the coming weeks, a series of tests and checkouts will be conducted at the site before the rocket, named It’s a Test, is signed-off to fly.

“We put it out to our team to name the vehicle,” said Beck. “We wanted to acknowledge the intensive research and development Electron has undergone and that continues with these test flights.”

The launch, which will be the first orbital launch attempt from New Zealand, is the first of three planned tests before Rocket Lab begins providing customers commercial satellite launches.

 

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Such an inspired name :D

Here's hoping everything checks out smoothly and they can proceed to launch soon!

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Has a launch date been announced yet? Can't find one on the internet.

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2 hours ago, TheEpicSquared said:

Has a launch date been announced yet? Can't find one on the internet.

There's still a bunch more tests to run before launch, but it should be a matter of weeks rather than months.

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What? Already!?!?!

Wow! I didn't think these guys were anywhere near launching!

Edited by Ultimate Steve

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Payload 150 kg. Can deliver one Kerbal with individual heatshield to return back.

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Looks tinyish.

Their site speaks of multiple tests, but I can't find anything about the first launch. Any ideas?

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They have not determined a launch date yet; it depends on how the checkouts go. The best we have right now is "in a few weeks".

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A NOTAM has been issued indiciating launch is planned between May 22nd and June 3rd.

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Just now, Kryten said:

A NOTAM has been issued indiciating launch is planned between May 22nd and June 3rd.

Woohoo! Here's hoping that there's a livestream! 

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Posted (edited)

And they have a mission patch to go with it. I like the way it evokes the feel of carbon fiber composite, which the rocket is made out of.

C_gwVUkUMAAc9nT.jpg

Edited by Streetwind
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1 hour ago, Streetwind said:

And they have a mission patch to go with it. I like the way it evokes the feel of carbon fiber composite, which the rocket is made out of.

C_gwVUkUMAAc9nT.jpg

That looks positively awesome! Where do you get this info? NasaSpaceFlight?

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Posted (edited)

Just now, TheEpicSquared said:

Where do you get this info? NasaSpaceFlight?

Just Reddit. :P

Since it's originally from a tweet, though, you could have gotten it via Twitter too.

Edited by Streetwind
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Well, NZ will soon continues Australia's British effort to space, then I presume ?

Oh wait, it's american...

Must be really interesting there ! I suppose they'll focus on polar launches then ?

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The Hype continues... Best of wishes to Rocket Lab and the X prize team flying on Electron!

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Posted (edited)

Yep..lookin forward to seeing the all-black rocket fly....

Anyone think small reusable rockets could be the next growth industry?

Smaller nations could have their own presitge launch vehicles on the cheap.

I'm hoping someone in aus will do an electron copy. In methalox. In my hometown. 

 

Electric pumps on the rutherford engines are very interesting to me. rutherford engine

Spoiler

 

Did a paper on closed-loop control of permanent magnet motors back in the day. 

DSP32C + xilinx + highspeed adc chips made a very expensive but nice testbeds.

All done in a $2 asic now.

 

Massive simplification of the engine design plus easy dynamic mixture control on the way up.

At the cost of battery mass.

Not so good for expendable rockets....but for reusable a different story.

......you are designing the rocket 2x the expendable size regardless....or halving the payload.

Would be very interested to see this paired with methalox. 

Also the performance of the CF tanks.

So many interesting things happening right now.

 

Edited by RedKraken
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16 hours ago, YNM said:

Well, NZ will soon continues Australia's British effort to space, then I presume ?

Oh wait, it's american...

It's both. It's a NZ company that is headquartered in the US for business reasons (ITAR, hiring, opportunity to launch from Florida etc.)

 

7 hours ago, RedKraken said:

Not so good for expendable rockets....but for reusable a different story.

Depends. The problem with electric turbopumps is that they are a lot heavier than regular flow turbines, because batteries only hold so much energy per mass, and are limited in the amount of power they can use, because batteries can only output so much power. It only works at all because the Rutherford engine is comparatively small.

Because of this, I can pretty much guarantee you that the flight model of the Electron is running its batteries to death in a single cycle. They'll be overcharged to the point of damage prior to launch, and then discharged at unsafe speeds during flight, all the way to the deep discharge point that li-ion batteries should never ever reach. They'll also be skipping out on thermal control systems and other protective equipment.

If you want a reusable launch vehicle running on electric turbines, you have to make sure that the batteries survive the launch intact, which means running them inside their design parameters. That costs you extra mass and gives you less energy and less power to work with. As the reusable rocket is already paying a steep mass penalty to enable reusability, that sounds like a bad proposition.

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40 minutes ago, Streetwind said:

Because of this, I can pretty much guarantee you that the flight model of the Electron is running its batteries to death in a single cycle. They'll be overcharged to the point of damage prior to launch, and then discharged at unsafe speeds during flight, all the way to the deep discharge point that li-ion batteries should never ever reach. They'll also be skipping out on thermal control systems and other protective equipment.

If you want a reusable launch vehicle running on electric turbines, you have to make sure that the batteries survive the launch intact, which means running them inside their design parameters. That costs you extra mass and gives you less energy and less power to work with. As the reusable rocket is already paying a steep mass penalty to enable reusability, that sounds like a bad proposition.

Good points.

I hope they stream the telemetry. We can work out quite a bit from the launch data.

 

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Posted (edited)

23 hours ago, Streetwind said:

If you want a reusable launch vehicle running on electric turbines, you have to make sure that the batteries survive the launch intact, which means running them inside their design parameters. That costs you extra mass and gives you less energy and less power to work with. As the reusable rocket is already paying a steep mass penalty to enable reusability, that sounds like a bad proposition.

Well they could use fuel cell...

 

Hmm...

 

Does kerosene-LOX fuel cell even works ?

But I presume (and sort of conclude) that given the small payload and rocket size, pursue for cheap price and R&D, location and inclination... no. I believe Electron won't justify a barge or anything - and the south sea are among the most rough sea ever !

Edited by YNM

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24 minutes ago, YNM said:

Well they could use fuel cell...

 

Hmm...

 

Does kerosene-LOX fuel cell even works ?

I'm not aware of any fuel cell designs using kersoene and/or oxygen. Also Even if there was I don't think you'd get anywhere near the power output required from one anyway.

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C_0BGTYUIAARDuL.jpg

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if we removed the faring could we fit this into another rocket, and could that rocket get to orbit?

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