An Electron rocket from the Rocket Lab company, captured at the site in Makhiya (New Zealand) in June 2018, is expected to fly out in November
In mid-November, the private space company Rocket Lab will attempt to send 6 small satellites into orbit around the Earth. It seems commonplace if it were not for the size of the rocket. It reaches only 17 m in height and 1.2 m in diameter.
Launched in 2006, Rocket Lab performed a successful test flight in January and this month may be the first new-generation company capable of using small missiles to launch. An open window is available on November 11th. Start planned with Mahia in New Zealand. Dozens of space companies are developing missiles to send small satellites into orbit (from a few kilograms to hundreds of kilograms).
This is a new chapter based on the efforts of US private companies. The rocket was named Electron. Starting from New Zealand also implies a certain benefit over traditional sites in Florida and California, because there are fewer planes in the air. That is, there is no air traffic and more opportunities for launches.
Rocket Lab performed a successful test flight of an Electron rocket in January 2018 from New Zealand
The company launches 6 missiles in production and believes that in 2019 it will be able to carry out 16 launches.
However, Rocket Lab plans do not seem so cheap if you count the cost per kilo transported. But representatives are hoping for demand regarding the frequency of launches. Now those who wish to send a satellite into space have to contact SpaceX or Arianespace, whose schedule is packed with larger and more expensive projects.
The Falcon 9 Ilona Mask two-stage rocket (height - 70 m) is capable of transporting up to 23 tons of cargo, and Electron - 250 kg. But the introduction of small missiles will reduce the waiting time from 18-24 months to 6 months. And customers are willing to pay the price for fast service. If the launch cost in SpaceX will cost $ 3,000 per kg, then the Rocket Lab will have to pay out $ 40,000 per kg.
The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base (California) on October 7, 2018. You may notice that the company has more and more competitors
There are many companies willing to launch small rockets, but not everyone has the equipment. But one can notice a general trend towards the rapid development of space technology. In 2009, SpaceX sent its first satellite into orbit when there were about a dozen private companies. Now there are more than 375 of them, which have attracted more than 16 billion dollars of financing.
First of all, applications come in the field of telecommunications, and then Earth observation. Many industries need a more accurate photo of the Earth, from defense to agriculture, insurance and finance. Surprisingly, such satellites are able to alleviate everything: from the repair of gas pipelines to the assessment of flood damage.