Rocket Lab: Space is Now Open for Business
Rocket Lab’s goal is to open access to space to improve life on Earth. The startup has developed and launched advanced rocket technology to provide fast and repeatable access to orbit for small satellites. As they state on their website, they are “driven to broaden the horizons of what’s already possible in space and are inspired by the possibilities not yet imagined.”
This company could prove useful to Asgardia as they work toward building habitable platforms in low-Earth orbit.
Rocket Lab is a private company, with major investors including Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC (Data Collective), Promus Ventures, Lockheed Martin, and K1W1.
The company was founded in 2006 by Peter Beck. Its headquarters are in the Greater Los Angeles Area on the West Coast, of the Western US.
Rocket Lab is growing and looking for investors. They’re currently accepting bids in Crunchbase, a marketplace for investors and startup companies. As the company writes in their Crunchbase bio, “Rocket Lab delivers a range of complete rocket systems and technologies for fast and low-cost payload deployment. Rocket Lab’s orbital launch vehicle Electron is poised to change the space industry by providing dedicated low-cost, high-frequency launches for the emerging small satellite market.”
Recently Rocket Lab announced that it will fly payloads for Planet and Spire aboard its upcoming second test flight, known as “Still Testing,” from Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.
Rocket Lab’s Electron orbital launch vehicle will carry two Earth-imaging Dove satellites for Planet and two Lemur 2 satellites from Spire for weather mapping and ship traffic tracking.
This flight marks the second of three in Rocket Lab’s Electron test program and comes on the heels of the successful inaugural Electron test flight performed on May 25, 2018.
Peter Beck, founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rocket Lab, explained that carrying a test payload allows the company to collect essential data and test systems for the deployment stage of a mission.
The Electron vehicle for the “Still Testing” flight will be brought to Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 this month, and a launch window will open in the weeks following after the vehicle checks are complete.
Beck added that Rocket Lab is delighted with Electron’s performance in the first test flight and they are now excited to test the next critical step: payload deployment. No significant changes are being done to the launch vehicle hardware and the third-party error that meant Rocket Lab didn’t make orbit has been fixed and they are now focusing on the six Electron vehicles currently in production.
Beck also stated that Rocket Lab is still very much operating in a test phase and can likely expect a few scrubs during the second test flight attempt.
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