Rock­etLab makes it pay


Rocket Lab will fly pay­loads for satel­lites on its next test flight.

The com­pany said its Elec­tron or­bital launch ve­hi­cle would carry two Earth-imag­ing Dove satel­lites for satel­lite im­agery firm Planet and two Le­mur-2 satel­lites from satel­lite data firm Spire for weather map­ping and ship traf­fic track­ing.

It will be the sec­ond of three flights in Rocket Lab’s Elec­tron test pro­gramme, launched from the Ma¯hia Penin­sula.

Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck said it was a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for the Elec­tron pro­gramme, which would gather cru­cial data and test sys­tems for the de­ploy­ment stage of a mis­sion.

‘‘We’re thrilled with Elec­tron’s per­for­mance in the first test flight and now we’re ea­ger to test the next cru­cial step – pay­load de­ploy­ment,’’ Beck said.

‘‘No ma­jor changes to the launch ve­hi­cle hard­ware have been re­quired, the third-party er­ror that meant we didn’t make or­bit has been cor­rected and we’re fo­cus­ing on the six Elec­tron ve­hi­cles in pro­duc­tion right now.

‘‘While we’re still very much op­er­at­ing in a test phase and can likely ex­pect a few scrubs dur­ing the sec­ond test flight at­tempt, we’re in­cred­i­bly ex­cited about car­ry­ing Planet and Spire pay­loads on Elec­tron,’’ he said.

‘‘The data th­ese com­pa­nies gather has an in­creas­ingly sig­nif­i­cant role to play in how we un­der­stand our planet and bet­ter man­age it.’’

The Elec­tron ve­hi­cle is ex­pected to be trucked to the Ma¯hia Penin­sula launch com­plex this month.


Rocket Lab’s launch site on the Ma¯hia Penin­sula and, in­set, Elec­tron’s first test launch.

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