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.
For operations from the Scottish launch site, the Lockeheed Martin consortium 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 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.
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 Photon||Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford||Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum||Photon / Curie|
|Electron Photon-Lunar||Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford||Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum||Photon / hyperCurie|
|Electron SL-OMV||Stage 1 / 9 × Rutherford||Stage 2 / Rutherford-Vacuum||SL-OMV|
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 Global 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 Global 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 Planned x x Electron KS xx.xx.2020 OnS LC-1A Capella x x x Electron Photon-Lunar xx.xx.2021 WI LA-0A/LC-2 CAPSTONE 13 12 Electron KS xx.07.2020 OnS LC-1 CE-SAT 1B / Flock-4e 1, ..., 5 / Faraday 1 x x Electron KS xx.xx.2020 OnS LC-1 CE-SAT 2B x x Electron KS xx.xx.2020 OnS LC-1 Dragracer A / Dragracer B / ? 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.08.2020 WI LA-0A/LC-2 Monolith x x Electron KS xx.xx.2020 OnS LC-1 McNair / ? x x Electron KS xx.xx.2021 OnS LC-1A NROL x x x Electron KS xx.xx.2021 OnS LC-1B NROL y x x Electron KS xx.xx.2020 OnS LC-1 StriX α x x Electron KS xx.xx.2020 OnS LC-1 (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch) x x Electron KS xx.xx.202x OnS LC-1 (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch) x x Electron KS xx.xx.202x OnS LC-1 (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch) x x Electron KS xx.xx.202x OnS LC-1 (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch) x x Electron KS xx.xx.202x OnS LC-1 (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch) x x Electron KS xx.xx.202x OnS LC-1 (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch) x x Electron KS xx.xx.202x OnS LC-1 (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch) x x Electron KS xx.xx.202x OnS LC-1 (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch) x x Electron KS xx.xx.202x OnS LC-1 (Circle Aerospace multi satellite launch) x x Electron KS 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 co-manifested: QuakeTEC Failures: 1: Flight was terminated due to a telemetry glitch Launch sites: AMh = A’Mhoine, Sutherland, Scotland, UK OnS = Onenui Station, Mahia, Wairoa, North Island, New Zealand WI = Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS), Wallops Island, Virginia, USA