Rocket Lab opens new launch window for It’s Business Time after failed July attempt
After unsuccessful attempts with launching its first commercial Electron Rocket earlier this year, Rocket Lab plans to have another go on Sunday afternoon.
The rocket, dubbed It’s Business Time, had issues with a motor controller, which scrubbed the launch window for June/July.
But it is expected to attempt a launch at 4.50pm on Sunday from Mahia Peninsula. Check back for live stream coverage on Stuff.
Rocket Lab spokeswoman Morgan Bailey said the rocket was now equipped with an upgraded motor controller. “Unusual behaviour was detected with the motor controller. We’ve since redesigned the hardware and the issue was resolved.”
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The motor controller had also pushed back the launch from mid April and may to June.
As the launch is heavily dependent on weather, Rocket Lab has set up a nine-day launch window from November 11 till November 19 for the attempts.
Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket will loft six satellites and a technology demonstrator to low Earth orbit.
The satellites will be from Spire Global, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Fleet Space Technologies, as well as an educational payload from the Irvine Cube Sat STEM Program and a drag sail technology demonstrator designed and built by High Performance Space Structure Systems GmBH.
The launch will be commanded from Rocket Lab’s new rocket factory in Auckland’s Mount Wellington.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Hollywood actor William Shatner were at the opening.
The 7500 sqm mass production site in Mount Wellington will add to Rocket Lab’s existing production facility and headquarters in California.
Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck said the company had expanded its global production, to launch an Electron rocket to orbit every week by 2020.
“Every detail of the Rocket Lab launch system has been designed to provide small satellites with rapid and reliable access to space,” Beck said.
The launching service will allow satellites to be transported, used for apps like Uber or Google Maps.
Electron launch vehicles will undergo final assembly in Mount Wellington, where all parts will go through a streamlined process for testing and integration into the rocket before its launch from the Māhia Peninsula.
Electron is a two-stage rocket capable of delivering payloads of 150kg.