Rocket Lab Thread

Rocket Lab is an aerospace company started in 2006, based in the United States and launching from New Zealand. Rocket Lab is centered around the idea of using smaller purpose built rockets, with multiple payloads, launching more frequently to bring cost down and open more opportunities for satellite operators.

The Vehicle:

Rocket Lab has made extensive use of carbon composites in the building of the launch vehicle and it’s internal tanks, giving rocket it’s characteristic black color.

The Electron vehicle is using nine of Rocket Labs new Rutherford engine. 3D printed, electrically driven turbo pumps, and burning a LOX/RP-1 mixture for both the first and second stages.

The Launch Site:

Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, located on an outcropping of land on New Zealand’s North Island, and is capable of launching to sun-synchronous orbits.

| Rocket Lab Main Site | Rocket Lab Facebook | Rocket Lab Twitter | Rocket Lab YouTube |

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Rocket Lab launched their Electron rocket for the first time on May 25th 2017. Electron made it to space but not to orbit.

It's a Test - Launch Day Video - YouTube Link

It's a Test - Lift Off! - YouTube Link (No sound)

Rocket Lab Test Flight 1: View from the rocket #ItsaTest - YouTube Link

A personal note: I’ve been wanting to post about Rocket Lab since I found out about them a few months ago, but life gets busy and you know how all that goes. Now seemed like the perfect time with the first launch of Electron, congratulations to Rocket Lab, even if you didn’t make it in to orbit the launch was still an impressive showing. I love that people haven’t given up on space and it seems every few months now the competition expands with new companies, and new ideas.


Is that a “recoverable” rocket or does is splash down somewhere and sink?

I believe it splashes down, though I don’t know if they recover it after that. I’m hoping more information is available with more launches.

A fine addition to my collection!

Rocket Lab is aiming for their second launch this weekend/ early next week.

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Launch has been pushed back again.

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After several holds and a couple of weeks Rocket Lab has successfully launched their second rocket, mission name Still Testing.

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My understanding of the Rocket Lab Electron rocket is that it is very light and small, hence caters for a different market to the big heavy ones ($6m per launch or so).

So its a traditional rocket in the sense that it is an expendable 2-stage rocket but it is innovative in size and construction to make it competitively priced in the small sat launch vehicle category.

The Rocket Lab launch pad is in Mahia on the East Coast of North Island of NZ. If and when they get the commercial launches going, I might consider a few days of vacation down that way when there is a scheduled launch. It’s a 7.5 hour drive or a 1-hour domestic flight away from Auckland but the town is quite a nice holiday town so the trip would be fun even if they ended up scrubbing. :slight_smile:


This morning Rocket Lab celebrates the third launch of a Electron rocket, the second successful flight, and the first commercial flight. Successfully deploying seven satellites.


Just the highlights

Full stream

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