First Electron Rocket Arrives at Rocket Lab Launch Site

First Electron rocket at launch site. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab Program Update

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.

  • Aerospike

    This is going to be exciting. I wish them all the best for their first launch!

  • Larry J

    Nice looking rocket with an innovative design. Here’s wishing them success!

  • WhoAmI

    Looking into this rocket further, it is cool that it uses an electric motor for the fuel pump which reduces the overall complexity and efficiency of the rocket motor and allows the cost per launch to be $4.9M. That being said, the listed price is 5x the cost per kg over the Falcon 9’s listed price ($4.9M/150kg=$32.7k/kg vs $61M/9600kg=$6.4k/kg). I suppose there is added cost for ride sharing a Falcon 9 verses having a dedicated Electron Rocket. Also, there is greater control of schedule with the Electron. And, ride sharing could increase fuel to get to destination orbit if the launch time and location isn’t as ideal as the Electron could provide. Lastly, there aren’t a lot of launch options in the southern hemisphere which could help Rocket Labs business model. Hum…