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HomeUncategorizedPeter Beck explains why Electron can only launch 10-15 times a year

Peter Beck explains why Electron can only launch 10-15 times a year

An Electron rocket launches a mission for the US National Reconnaissance Office on August 4, 2022.

Zoom in / An Electron rocket launches on Aug. 4, 2022 for the National Reconnaissance Office.

Rocket Lab

For rockets named after negatively charged particles, Electron launch vehicles have produced a lot of good news lately.

Rocket Lab’s small booster, which has already tied its annual record of successful launches with six this year, recently stepped up in just five Complete three e-tasks in a week. These aren’t just any launches; they’re arguably the most important missions since Rocket Lab began flying in May 2017.

On June 28, Electron launched the CAPSTONE mission to the moon, proving that a small rocket can launch deep space missions and proving that the company’s Photon Satellite buses are capable of complex space operations. Then, on July 13 and August 4, Electron launched two missions for the National Reconnaissance Office, demonstrating the company’s “responsive” space capabilities.

In an interview with Ars, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said that these missions and higher cadences are possible because Rocket Lab has now With “mature” processes and experience gained over the past five years. He also touched on why Electron is unlikely to fly more often than it does now.

Driven by market demand

Building the first rockets for any launch business is an all-hands job, with engineers and managers keeping tabs on the rocket’s drop line. Now, Baker says, Electrons are made by technicians with a set of job instructions. “To be able to do that, we’ve invested a lot in all of our systems and processes,” Baker said. “All of our production systems are very mature.”

Rocket Lab is now ready to welcome customers, Beck said. With its existing workforce, the company can build one Electron launch vehicle every 18 days. It has two launch pads and three clean rooms for pre-launch processing, and it always holds two rockets at the New Zealand launch site. Due to its vertically integrated efforts, more than 80% of Electron is built in-house, making its production less susceptible to supply chain issues. “Because you’re a dedicated service person, you provide great service so that you’re there when the customer is ready,” Baker said.

Rocket Experiment Chamber expects to launch 10 to 12 Electrons this year, which would make it the second most active western launch provider globally after SpaceX in terms of total launches. Of course, companies like United Launch Alliance and Ariane Space would rank higher in terms of tonnage in orbit.

The annual electron launch, Baker said the company could still fly more often.



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