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Electron

Electron (It's A Test) [Rocket Lab]

Electron KS (Still Testing) [Rocket Lab]

Electron KS (R) (Dragracer) [Rocket Lab]

Electron Photon-IP (CAPSTONE) [Rocket Lab]

Electron is a small liquid fueled orbital launch vehicle, which is being developed by Rocket Lab, a US/New Zealand company. Both stages are RP-1 and LOX fueled.

Electron has a carbon composite structure of 1.2 m diameter and 20 m length.

The powerplant of Electron is Rocket Lab's Rutherford engine using LOX/RP-1 as fuels. Rutherford adopts an new electric propulsion cycle, using electric motors to drive its pumps, and is the first oxygen/hydrocarbon engine to use 3D printing for all primary components. Electron’s first stage is powered by multiple Rutherford engines with a total peak thrust of 146.6 kN. Electron’s second stage is powered by a Rutherford Vacuum Engine which is tailored to provide improved performance in vacuum conditions. An additional kick stage (KS) powered by Rocket Lab's Curie engine running on an unspecified “green” monopropellant is availlable for increased flexibility of the missions.

To avoid complications with payload processing a containerized approach will be used, where customers encapsulate their satellites in payload fairings provided by the company, which can be stored and easily attached to the rocket shortly before launch.

Ecliptic Enterprises will offer hosted payloads on the kick stage, which will remain attached to the kick stage.

Rocket Lab had originally selected Birdling's Flat (Kaitorete Spit), Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand as a launch site. It is located 44 km from Christchurch. It is unclear if this site remains a future option. Due to legal issues, another launch site at Onenui Station on the Mahia peninsula on the North Island was selected for the maiden flights. In October 2018, Rocket Lab selected Wallops Island as the launch pad for the USA.

The Electron vehicle carries up to 225 kg payloads to low earth orbit. The payload for a 500 km sun-synchronous orbit is 100 kg.

The first Electron launch was planned for late 2016, but has been delayed for early 2017, with commercial operations scheduled to begin later in 2017. The vehicle will have a cost of $4.9 M. The first launch took place in May 2017, but failed to reach orbit. The second vehicle was successfully launched in January 2018.

In August 2019, Rocket Lab announced to modify the Electron for recovery of stage 1. The modifications needed include aa parachute system and likely as stretch of stage 1. A helicoper is planned to catch the returning stage in air.

Version Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
Electron Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum -
Electron KS Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum Kick Stage (KS) / Curie
Electron KS (R) Stage 1 (Reusable) / 9 × Rutherford Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum Kick Stage (KS) / Curie
Electron Photon-LEO Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum Photon / Curie
Electron Photon-IP Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum Photon / hyperCurie
HASTE Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum mod. Kick Stage (KS)
Performance (kg) LEO LPEO SSO GTO GEO MolO IP
Electron 225 - - - -
Electron KS 100 - - - -
Electron Photon-LEO 100 - - - -
Electron Photon-IP - - - 25
No.  TypNo Type                   Date            LS             Payload 

 1    1    Electron               25.05.2017  F   OnS LC-1A      It's a Test / Humanity Star
 2    1    Electron KS            21.01.2018      OnS LC-1A      Still Testing / Humanity Star / Lemur-2 72 / Lemur-2 73 / Dove Pioneer
 3    2    Electron KS            11.11.2018      OnS LC-1A      CICERO 10 / Lemur-2 82 / Lemur-2 83 / Proxima 1 / Proxima 2 / Irvine 01 / NABEO 1
 4    3    Electron KS            16.12.2018      OnS LC-1A      ALBus / CeREs / CHOMPTT / Da Vinci / ISX / NMTSat / RSat-P / Shields 1 / STF 1 / CubeSail A / CubeSail B /
                                                                 TOMSat EagleScout / TOMSat R3 / SHFT 1
 5    4    Electron KS            28.03.2019      OnS LC-1A      R3D2
 6    5    Electron KS            05.05.2019      OnS LC-1A      Harbinger (ICEYE X3) / SPARC 1 / Falcon-ODE
 7    6    Electron KS            29.06.2019      OnS LC-1A      BlackSky 3 / Painani 1 / Prometheus 2.7 / Prometheus 2.9 / ACRUX 1 / SpaceBEE 8, 9
 8    7    Electron KS            19.08.2019      OnS LC-1A      BlackSky 4 / BRO 1 / Pearl White 1 / Pearl White 2
 9    8    Electron KS            17.10.2019      OnS LC-1A      Palisade
10    9    Electron KS            06.12.2019      OnS LC-1A      ALE 2 / NOOR 1A / NOOR 1B / ATL 1 / FossaSat 1 / SMOG-P / TRSI-Sat
11   10    Electron KS            31.01.2020      OnS LC-1A      USA 294 (NROL 151)
12   11    Electron KS            13.06.2020      OnS LC-1A      ANDESITE Mule / ANDESITE Node 1, ..., 8 / USA 301 / USA 302 / USA 303 / RAAF M2 Pathfinder
13   12    Electron KS            04.07.2020  F   OnS LC-1A      CE-SAT 1B / Flock-4e 1, ..., 5 / Faraday 1
14    1    Electron Photon-LEO    31.08.2020      OnS LC-1A      Capella 2 / First Light
15   13    Electron KS            28.10.2020      OnS LC-1A      CE-SAT 2B / Flock-4e' 1, ..., 9
16    1    Electron KS (R)        20.11.2020      OnS LC-1A      Dragracer A / Dragracer B / BRO 2 / BRO 3 / Mandrake 1 / SpaceBEE 22, ..., 39 / SpaceBEENZ 1, ..., 6 / APSS 1 /
                                                                 Gnome Chompski
17   14    Electron KS            15.12.2020      OnS LC-1A      StriX α
18   15    Electron KS            20.01.2021      OnS LC-1A      GMS-T
19    2    Electron Photon-LEO    22.03.2021      OnS LC-1A      BlackSky 7 / Centauri 3 / Myriota 7 / RAAF-M2 A / RAAF-M2 B / Gunsmoke-J 3 / Veery RL-1 / Pathstone
20    2    Electron KS (R)        15.05.2021  F   OnS LC-1A      BlackSky 8 / BlackSky 9
21   16    Electron KS            29.07.2021      OnS LC-1A      Monolith
22    3    Electron KS (R)        18.11.2021      OnS LC-1A      BlackSky 10 / BlackSky 11
23   17    Electron KS            09.12.2021      OnS LC-1A      BlackSky 14 / BlackSky 15
24   18    Electron KS            28.02.2022      OnS LC-1B      StriX β
25   19    Electron KS            02.04.2022      OnS LC-1A      BlackSky 16 / BlackSky 17
26    4    Electron KS (R)        02.05.2022      OnS LC-1A      E-Space Demo 1, 2, 3 / BRO 6 / AuroraSat 1 / SpaceBEE 140, ..., 155 / SpaceBEENZ 15, ..., 22 / Unicorn 2 / MyRadar 1 /
                                                                 TRSI 2, 3 / Copia
27    1    Electron Photon-IP     28.06.2022      OnS LC-1B      CAPSTONE / Lunar Photon
28   20    Electron KS            13.07.2022      OnS LC-1A      USA 334 (NROL 162)
29   21    Electron KS            04.08.2022      OnS LC-1B      USA 335 (NROL 199)
30   22    Electron KS            15.09.2022      OnS LC-1B      StriX 1
31   23    Electron KS            07.10.2022      OnS LC-1B      GAzelle (Argos-4)
32    5    Electron KS (R)        04.11.2022      OnS LC-1B      MATS
33   24    Electron KS            24.01.2023      WI LA-0C       Hawk 6A, 6B, 6C
34   25    Electron KS            16.03.2023      WI LA-0C       Capella 9 / Capella 10
35    6    Electron KS (R)        24.03.2023      OnS LC-1B      BlackSky 18 / BlackSky 19
36   26    Electron KS            08.05.2023      OnS LC-1B      TROPICS 05 / TROPICS 06
37   27    Electron KS            26.05.2023      OnS LC-1B      TROPICS 03 / TROPICS 07
38    1    HASTE                  18.06.2023 *    WI LA-0C       DYNAMO A
39    7    Electron KS (R)        18.07.2023      OnS LC-1B      Telesat LEO 3 / Starling 1, ..., 4 / Lemur-2 169, 170
40    8    Electron KS (R)        23.08.2023      OnS LC-1B      Capella 11
41   28    Electron KS            19.09.2023  F   OnS LC-1B      Capella 12
42   29    Electron KS            15.12.2023      OnS LC-1B      QPS-SAR 5
43    9    Electron KS (R)        31.01.2024      OnS LC-1B      Skylark 1, ..., 4
44   30    Electron KS            18.02.2024      OnS LC-1B      ADRAS-J
45   31    Electron KS            12.03.2024      OnS LC-1B      StriX 3
46   32    Electron KS            21.03.2024      WI LA-0C       USA 352 (NROL 123) / AeroCube 16A / AeroCube 16B / Mola
47   33    Electron KS            23.04.2024      OnS LC-1B      NEONSAT 1 / ACS3
48   34    Electron KS            25.05.2024      OnS LC-1B      PREFIRE 1


Planned

 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1       BlackSky TBD1 / BlackSky TBD2
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1       BlackSky TBD3 / BlackSky TBD4
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1       BlackSky TBD5 / BlackSky TBD6
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1       BlackSky TBD7 / BlackSky TBD8
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1       BlackSky TBD9 / BlackSky TBD10
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1       Capella TBD3
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1       Capella TBD4
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2026      WI LA-0C       DISKSat 1, 2, 3, 4 (STP-S30)
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1       Flock-y 1, ..., 20-25
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1       Flock-z 1, ..., 20-25
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      WI LA-0C ?     Hawk xA, ..., xF
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      WI LA-0C ?     Hawk yA, ..., yF
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1 ?     Kinéis 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1 ?     Kinéis 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1 ?     Kinéis 11, 12, 13, 14, 15
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1 ?     Kinéis 16, 17, 18, 19, 20
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1 ?     Kinéis 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
 x    x    Electron Photon-LEO    xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1 ?     LOXSAT 1
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2023      OnS LC-1       McNair / ?
49   35    Electron KS            xx.06.2024      OnS LC-1       PREFIRE 2
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1       Skylark 5, ..., 8
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1       Skylark 9, ..., 12
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1       StriX 2
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2024      OnS LC-1       StriX 4
 x    x    Electron Photon-IP     xx.01.2025      OnS LC-1       Venus Life Finder (VLF)
 x    x    Electron KS            xx.xx.2025      OnS / WI       Victus Haze (TacRS 4)
 x    x    HASTE                  xx.xx.202x *    WI LA-0C       DART AE
 x    x    HASTE                  xx.xx.2024 *    WI LA-0C       MACH-TB 2
 x    x    HASTE                  xx.xx.202x *    WI LA-0C       MACH-TB 3
 x    x    HASTE                  xx.xx.202x *    WI LA-0C       MACH-TB 4
 x    x    HASTE                  xx.xx.2025 *    WI LA-0C       MACH-TB 5
 x    2    HASTE                  xx.xx.202x *    WI LA-0C       ?

 
To be co-manifested:

WISA Woodsat


*       suborbital
F       failure
P       partial failure
p       partial failure (prime payload in usable orbit)
r       recovery failure (prime mission successful)
n       no recovery attempted (only for recoverable missions)

 
Failures:

 1: Flight was terminated due to a telemetry glitch


Launch sites:

OnS = Onenui Station, Mahia, Wairoa, North Island, New Zealand New Zealand
WI  = Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops Island, Virginia, USA USA/ LA-0A/LC-2

References:

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