Next test flight of Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket delayed

Capitalism in space: Rocket Lab has revealed that the second test flight of its rocket Electron is still several months away.

Rocket Lab is in the early stages of a three-vehicle test programme and Moon Express is still developing its lander at its facilities at Cape Canaveral, from where Apollo missions were launched. Rocket Lab’s first test launch successfully made it to space in late May. The first stage performed as it should but the second stage failed to deliver the payload to orbit.

Results of data analysis from the test flight could be available some time next week.

Earlier this month Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck said the company and its investors had confidence in the programme and they had another five rockets in various stages of production.
Beck said then a second test launch was about two or three months away and the company hoped to get its commercial launches underway as soon as it was satisfied with the test programme.

The company had previously said it hoped to launch the second test flight in mid-2017. It appears now that the second launch will not happen before October.

The article is strangely focused on selling the idea that Moon Express’s Google Lunar X-Prize flight, which must occur by the end of this year, is still on track. I don’t see how, with this news. Rocket Lab must first complete its three test flights, and I don’t see how they can do this, get their results, and update their engineering and still get this first commercial flight off by December.


  • wayne

    “How Small Can You Make An Orbital Rocket?”
    Scott Manley, July 2017

    Interesting quick rundown of small rocket history, starting with Vanguard.

  • wayne

    Anyone familiar with the British”Black Arrow” rocket? (I just stumbled across it today.)

    John Scott-Scott:
    “Black Arrow, the British-built satellite launch vehicle”

    “In this interview, filmed at the Rolls Royce Heritage Centre in Derby, Mechanical, Aeronautic and Maritime Engineer John Scott-Scott discusses the British-built satellite launch vehicle Black Arrow.”

  • wayne

    Highly interesting.
    (and excuse if everyone except me, knows about this already.)

    The British Space Race (part 1)
    BBC 2004
    “The space race might seem a two-horse race between America and the Soviet Union, but for a short time Britain was the unlikely player in the world of rocket research. This is the story of the unsung pioneers of British space exploration – the rocket engineers, the scientists and the dreamers who, despite lack of resources, never gave up on their vision for bringing the future into the present. Featuring the original rocket engineers and Professor Colin Pillinger, lead scientist of Beagle 2.”

  • Edward

    It is funny, but in the early US days of space, the Soviets put their satellites in orbit while the US rockets always blew up. A dozen years later, the US was putting men on the Moon and returning them safely again, but the Soviet’s Moon rocket was the one that always blew up.

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