Author Topic: "Electron" Rocket makes New Zealand the 11th country to join the space club  (Read 2984 times)

Offline smartcooky

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I'm quite surprised that Kiwi hasn't already posted something about this.

On 21 January 2018, New Zealand became the 11th country to launch a satellite into orbit, and Rocket Lab became only the second private space company to do so, when they launched their Rutherford powered Electron Rocket from their Mahia Peninsula Launch Complex.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_oAGlhFezo

https://www.rocketlabusa.com/news/updates/rocket-lab-successfully-reaches-orbit-and-deploys-payloads-january-21-2018/

“Reaching orbit on a second test flight is significant on its own, but successfully deploying customer payloads so early in a new rocket program is almost unprecedented. Rocket Lab was founded on the principal of opening access to space to better understand our planet and improve life on it. Today we took a significant step towards that,” he says.   

Rocket Lab has introduced some key innovations that make this quite an achievement.

3D printed engines
The Electron's Rutherford engine is the first orbital class LOX-RP1 engine to use 3D printing for all its primary components, including the thrust chamber, the fuel injector, the pumps and the main propellant valves. These are all printed from titanium alloys in 3-4 days using a technique called electron beam melting. Traditional parts manufacture usually takes months.

Electric Turbopumps
Usually, the propellant is injected into a rocket motor using turbopumps driven by a turbine powered by fuel, such as liquid oxygen or gaseous hydrogen. However, Rocket Lab have gone for a bit of Kiwi ingenuity, and used brushless DC electric motors powered by lithium-polymer batteries.

Fast Turnarounds with small payloads.
At full production, Rocket Lab eventually expects to launch more than 50 times a year, and is regulated to launch up to 120 times a year. In comparison, there were 22 launches last year from the United States (18 of them by SpaceX) and 82 internationally. No longer will customers wanting to put small packages such as cubesats in orbit have to wait to hitch a ride with one of the Big Boys (ULA, ESA, SpaceX etc). At a cost of US$5m per launch and a payload capacity of 225kg (a price/kg comparable to that of ULA's Atlas V), Rocket Lab can put several of these into orbit for less than a million dollars each... that's chump change in space terms. To that end, Rocket Lab has the next two years of launches fully booked and is looking to increase their rate to accommodate the customer's needs.

The Kick Stage
Rocket Lab kept secret two other satellites riding atop the launch vehicle; an additional kick stage engine separated and coasted through space for 40 minutes before igniting to place the two Spire Lemur-2 nanosatellites into a nearly circular 500 kilometre orbit.

Powered by Rocket Lab’s new Curie restartable engine, the kick stage burns a non-toxic “green” monopropellant. A company spokesperson said details about the make-up of the propellant are “commercially sensitive.”

This kick stage allows future launches to place multiple satellites into different orbits. Different customers flying different types of payloads on the same launch will be able to define their own orbits.

"Until now many small satellite operators have had to compromise on optimal orbits in order to reach space at an accessible cost,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s founder and CEO. “The kick stage releases small satellites from the constricting parameters of primary payload orbits and enables them to fully reach their potential, including faster deployment of small satellite constellations and better positioning for Earth imaging.”

NOTE: This kick stage is not the same thing as an apogee kick motor. It has its own suite of on-board avionics, power and communications systems. Its "Curie" engine can be re-ignited and has its own cold gas reaction control system for pointing to adjust orbital inclinations and altitude.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2018/01/29/rocket-labs-test-launch-carried-two-previously-unannounced-passengers/



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Online Obviousman

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I discussed this with a senior member of the ADF who has ties to an Australian astronaut. He said that he had spoken to the Australian astronaut and that the Australian astronaut had given up on an Australian space programme and no longer supported / appeared for it; it was just all talk and no actual support or commitment from the government. I can't say I disagree.

Offline Apollo 957

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11th; so, from 1 to 10, we have

USA
Russia
China
Japan
India ....

who have I missed?

Europe? Including UK, Italy, France, and ... ??

Offline raven

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11th; so, from 1 to 10, we have

USA
Russia
China
Japan
India ....

who have I missed?

Europe? Including UK, Italy, France, and ... ??
I know the UK did one, precisely one, successful launch independently of the ESA with the Black Arrow.

Offline LunarOrbit

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11th; so, from 1 to 10, we have

USA
Russia
China
Japan
India ....

who have I missed?

Europe? Including UK, Italy, France, and ... ??
I know the UK did one, precisely one, successful launch independently of the ESA with the Black Arrow.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_first_orbital_launches_by_country

Soviet Union
United States
France
Japan
China
United Kingdom
India
Israel
Iran
North Korea
New Zealand
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 10:33:01 PM by LunarOrbit »
It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Offline gwiz

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If what counts is the country of launch rather than who manufactured the vehicle, then Australia should be the fourth, Algeria should replace France, French Guiana comes next and UK has never hosted a launch.  South Korea should be included, possibly Kazakhstan or Russia now they are separate countries, Marshall Islands and if you count places that aircraft have taken off from with Pegasus launchers there are even more.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 11:04:29 AM by gwiz »
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Offline smartcooky

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If what counts is the country of launch rather than who manufactured the vehicle, then Australia should be the fourth, Algeria should replace France, French Guiana comes next and UK has never hosted a launch.  South Korea should be included, possibly Kazakhstan or Russia now they are separate countries, Marshall Islands and if you count places that aircraft have taken off from with Pegasus launchers there are even more.

Err, that would make Algeria third! Yeah, right!

Its stretching credibility to claim that the "lipstick rocket" was an Australian launch... British scientists, British Engineers, British money, British payload and only British aeronautical companies involved (Saunders-Roe and Westland Aircraft).
« Last Edit: February 15, 2018, 03:43:58 PM by smartcooky »
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Offline LunarOrbit

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Clearly the most important thing is that Canada was the third country to have a satellite in orbit (even though NASA launched it for us). ;)

Sent from my SM-N920W8 using Tapatalk

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth.
I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth.
I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
- Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Offline gwiz

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Its stretching credibility to claim that the "lipstick rocket" was an Australian launch... British scientists, British Engineers, British money, British payload and only British aeronautical companies involved (Saunders-Roe and Westland Aircraft).
Australia's claim to fourth place rests with this one which does have Australian input: http://www.iafastro.org/wresat-australias-first-satellite/
Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind - Terry Pratchett
...the ascent module ... took off like a rocket - Moon Man

Offline smartcooky

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Its stretching credibility to claim that the "lipstick rocket" was an Australian launch... British scientists, British Engineers, British money, British payload and only British aeronautical companies involved (Saunders-Roe and Westland Aircraft).
Australia's claim to fourth place rests with this one which does have Australian input: http://www.iafastro.org/wresat-australias-first-satellite/

Launched on an American designed and built Redstone Rocket, using American technology. Sorry, it doesn't fly. Its like trying to claim Algeria put a rocket into space merely because the French rocket was launched from there. The country that has the valid claim to the launch is the one that did the work and the hard yards; innovation, development, and provided the expertise. Claiming a country is responsible for launching a rocket to space merely because it was launched from their land mass is rather like claiming a movie was made by the country of the filming location, e.g. The Lord of the Rings films are American films (not NZ films as some of my countrymen like to claim) even if it was filmed here, and even if the director was a Kiwi.

Have a look at a map and the topography of Britain and Western Europe sometime and ask yourself why orbital rockets would be very difficult if not impossible to actually launch from there, and why the British went to Australia and the French went to Algeria and then, with Europe, went to Kourou in French Guiana in 1968 where they have been ever since.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2018, 02:57:42 PM by smartcooky »
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Offline raven

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Re: "Electron" Rocket makes New Zealand the 11th country to join the space club
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2018, 03:36:00 PM »
Yeah, I mean, I'm super proud Canada has had a few Canadian made satellites flown, not to mention the Canadarms for the Orbiter and the ISS, but I don't pretend we've launched anything but sounding rockets, albeit very good ones.

Offline gwiz

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Re: "Electron" Rocket makes New Zealand the 11th country to join the space club
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2018, 05:39:30 AM »
Claiming a country is responsible for launching a rocket to space merely because it was launched from their land mass is rather like claiming a movie was made by the country of the filming location, e.g. The Lord of the Rings films are American films (not NZ films as some of my countrymen like to claim) even if it was filmed here, and even if the director was a Kiwi.
This was the point I was trying to make in response to your initial post claiming New Zealand was the 11th country.
Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind - Terry Pratchett
...the ascent module ... took off like a rocket - Moon Man

Offline smartcooky

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Re: "Electron" Rocket makes New Zealand the 11th country to join the space club
« Reply #12 on: February 17, 2018, 03:18:08 PM »
Claiming a country is responsible for launching a rocket to space merely because it was launched from their land mass is rather like claiming a movie was made by the country of the filming location, e.g. The Lord of the Rings films are American films (not NZ films as some of my countrymen like to claim) even if it was filmed here, and even if the director was a Kiwi.
This was the point I was trying to make in response to your initial post claiming New Zealand was the 11th country.

Except that the launch wasn't just hosted in this country. The drive, the expertise, the aerospace engineering and the "rocket-science" are all local. The Rutherford Engines with their ground-breaking 3D printed parts, as well as the concept of using electric DC motors for turbo pumps was all the brainchild of New Zealander Peter Beck (Rocket Lab CEO) who founded the company in 2006 with seed finance from Mark Rocket (yes, that is is real name) and launched their first non-orbital flight into space in 2009.

https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/nz-rocket-blasts-and-so-will-profits-maker-says-114972

I don't see why you are trying to pour cold water on this achievement (unless, of course, you're an Australian, then it would perfectly understandable, there would be nothing new in that)
 
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Offline gwiz

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Re: "Electron" Rocket makes New Zealand the 11th country to join the space club
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2018, 09:24:19 AM »
However, Rocket Lab is a US company.  Von Braun and many of his team were German, but no-one claims that Explorer 1 was anything other than a US launch.  By the time they designed the Redstone, the Germans were all working for a US organisation.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2018, 09:27:53 AM by gwiz »
Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind - Terry Pratchett
...the ascent module ... took off like a rocket - Moon Man

Offline smartcooky

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Re: "Electron" Rocket makes New Zealand the 11th country to join the space club
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2018, 11:00:24 PM »
However, Rocket Lab is a US company.  Von Braun and many of his team were German, but no-one claims that Explorer 1 was anything other than a US launch.  By the time they designed the Redstone, the Germans were all working for a US organisation.

The rest of the world acknowledges that this is a NZ launch, and that we are the 11th country to launch satellites into orbit.

Frankly, I just think you're just trolling me. I expect this from youtubers and at places like Godlike Productions and Above Top Secret... but I didn't expect this crap here from a regular.
► What you can assert without evidence, I can dismiss without evidence
► When you argue with idiots you risk being dragged down to their level and beaten with experience.
► Conspiracism is a shortcut to the illusion of erudition