Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit:

Rocket Lab’s second test launch will deliver a payload to orbit

The first test flight didn't make it to orbit, but the problem has been fixed.
Swapna Krishna, @skrishna
September 26, 2017
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Rocket Lab

Small satellite launcher Rocket Lab's first test flight in May was mostly a success, and now it's ready for a second round. The New Zealand-based startup will begin the final tests on its Electron launch vehicle next month. The launch window will open soon after these tests are scheduled for completion, the company said.

This won't just be any test run, though. The Electron rocket will have a payload; Rocket Lab tweeted both Planet and Spire will have small satellites aboard the launch vehicle. Planet is has a huge network of small satellites which continually scan and image the Earth; it will send two of its Dove nanosats to orbit. Spire will send its weather-mapping and ship-tracking Lemur-2 satellites up as well.

The first Rocket Lab launch was considered a success, but the rocket didn't reach orbit. An in-depth post-flight analysis determined that it was caused by misconfigured telemetry equipment, which caused the launch center to lose communication with the rocket temporarily. When that happened, the flight was terminated, as per standard procedure. But the problem has been fixed, and Rocket Lab is confident that this second test will go more smoothly.

Competitor Vector launched a prototype of its rocket, the Vector-R, last month in a suborbital flight, and it was also carrying a customer payload. It's clear the small satellite space race is on; we'll see if Rocket Lab's will be the first of the two to make it to orbit.

In this article: rocketlab, space, tomorrow
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Facebook is banning Oculus owners with multiple VR headsets

Facebook is banning Oculus owners with multiple VR headsets

View
Garmin smartwatches are on sale at all-time low prices at Amazon

Garmin smartwatches are on sale at all-time low prices at Amazon

View
Samsung, Stanford make a 10,000PPI display that could lead to 'flawless' VR

Samsung, Stanford make a 10,000PPI display that could lead to 'flawless' VR

View
Redbox's Free Live TV comes to Xbox One consoles

Redbox's Free Live TV comes to Xbox One consoles

View
'Sekiro' GOTY Edition trailer offers a peek at fresh challenges

'Sekiro' GOTY Edition trailer offers a peek at fresh challenges

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr