Electron (It's A Test) [Rocket Lab]
Electron KS (Still Testing) [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|
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 / Landmapper-BC 5 / SpaceBEE 22, ..., 39 / SpaceBEE NZ-1, ..., NZ-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 Hatchling / 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 Planned 22 17 Electron KS xx.08.2021 OnS LC-1B BlackSky 10 / BlackSky 11 x x Electron KS xx.xx.2021 OnS LC-1 ? BlackSky y1 / BlackSky y2 x x Electron KS xx.xx.2021 OnS LC-1 ? BlackSky z1 / BlackSky z2 x 1 Electron Photon-IP xx.10.2021 WI LA-0A/LC-2 CAPSTONE / Lunar Photon 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 Photon-LEO xx.xx.2023 OnS LC-1 ? LOXSAT 1 x x Electron KS xx.xx.2021 OnS LC-1 McNair / ? x x Electron KS xx.01.2022 OnS LC-1A NROL 162 x x Electron KS xx.02.2022 OnS LC-1B NROL 199 x x Electron KS xx.xx.2021 ? OTB 3 (Argos-4) x x Electron Photon-IP xx.xx.2023 OnS LC-1 (NZ Venus Mission) To be co-manifested: WISA Woodsat Failures: 1: Flight was terminated due to a telemetry glitch Launch sites: OnS = Onenui Station, Mahia, Wairoa, North Island, New Zealand WI = Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops Island, Virginia, USA