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Electron

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

Electron Curie (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 powered by Rocket Lab's Curie engine running on an unspecified “green” monopropellant is availlable for increased flexibility of the missions.

For operations from the Scottish launch site, the Lockeheed Martin concsortium is planning to use a Moog built small upper stage called SL-OMV (Small Launch Orbital Manoeuvring Vehicle) to deploy up to six 6U-Cubesats in different orbits.

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 Curie 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. A consortium including Lockheed Martin is planing an Electron launch site on the A’Mhoine peninsula, Sutherland county, in northern Scotland.

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.

Version Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
Electron Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum -
Electron Curie Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum Curie
Electron SL-OMV Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum SL-OMV
Performance (kg) LEO LPEO SSO GTO GEO MolO IP
Electron 225 - - - -
Electron Curie 100 - - - -
No.  TypNo Type             Date            LS           Payload 

 1    1    Electron         25.05.2017  F   OnS LC-1     It's a Test / Humanity Star
 2    1    Electron Curie   21.01.2018      OnS LC-1     Still Testing / Humanity Star / Lemur-2 72 / Lemur-2 73 / Dove Pioneer
 3    2    Electron Curie   11.11.2018      OnS LC-1     CICERO 10 / Lemur-2 82 / Lemur-2 83 / Proxima 1 / Proxima 2 / Irvine 01 / NABEO 1


Planned

 4    3    Electron Curie   xx.12.2018      OnS LC-1     CeREs / ALBus / CHOMPTT / Da Vinci / ISX / NMTSat / RSat-P / Shields 1 / STF 1 / CubeSail 1 /
                                                         CubeSail 2 / TOMSat EagleScout / TOMSat R3 / SHFT 1

 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.2019      OnS LC-1     BlackSky Global 4 / ?
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.2019      OnS LC-1     CE-SAT 1 Mk.2 / CE-SAT 2
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.2018      OnS LC-1     Flock-x 1, ..., 20-25
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.201x      OnS LC-1     Flock-y 1, ..., 20-25
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.201x      OnS LC-1     Flock-z 1, ..., 20-25
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.2019      OnS LC-1     ICEYE X3 / ?
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.2019      OnS LC-1     KSM 1, ..., x
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.2019      OnS LC-1     MCNAIR / ?
 x    x    Electron         xx.xx.2019      OnS LC-1     MX-1E 1
 x    x    Electron         xx.xx.20xx      OnS LC-1     MX-1E 2
 x    x    Electron         xx.xx.20xx      OnS LC-1     MX-1E 3
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.2019      OnS LC-1     (Spaceflight multi satellite launch)
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.2019      OnS LC-1     (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch)
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1     (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch)
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1     (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch)
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1     (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch)
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1     (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch)
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1     (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch)
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1     (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch)
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1     (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch)
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1     (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch)
 x    x    Electron Curie   xx.xx.202x      OnS LC-1     (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch)
 x    1    Electron SL-OMV  xx.xx.20xx      AMh LC-3     (multi satellite launch)


To be manifested:

ACRUX 1, Outernet 1, Outernet 2, Outernet 3, QuakeTEC, SpaceBEE 8, SpaceBEE 9


 
Failures:

 1: Flight was terminated due to a telemetry glitch


Launch sites:

AMh = A’Mhoine, Sutherland, Scotland, UK UK
OnS = Onenui Station, Mahia, Wairoa, North Island, New Zealand New Zealand
WI  = Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops Island, Virginia, USA USA

References: