Author Topic: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher  (Read 266123 times)

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1060 on: 07/08/2017 07:55 PM »
Okay, 3D-printed engines, that could be a good way to produce 500 units per year. But how do they intend to manufacture 50 sets of carbon fiber kerolox rocket stages per year? I realize it's not a huge vehicle, but that seems like a pretty labor-intensive enterprise.
They want to automate composite tank construction. I don't how they plan to do it but this video is one possible way. Just like engines scaling is easy, just buy more 3D printers or robotics.

Production line assembly of engines and stages shouldn't be any different from any other massed produced product.

It is not only small LV that are being massed produced but also small satellites, Airbus and Oneweb are gearing up to make 100s a year.


Offline whitelancer64

Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1061 on: 07/17/2017 05:02 PM »
Offhand, does anyone know how much payload Electron can throw into a direct TLI?
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
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Offline Skyrocket

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1062 on: 07/17/2017 05:11 PM »
Offhand, does anyone know how much payload Electron can throw into a direct TLI?

None. It is a LEO launcher.

Customers like Moon Express need to provide their own propulsion in the payload for TLI.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1063 on: 07/17/2017 05:15 PM »
Offhand, does anyone know how much payload Electron can throw into a direct TLI?

None. It is a LEO launcher.

Customers like Moon Express need to provide their own propulsion in the payload for TLI.

The CEO of Rocket Lab has said that the Electron is capable of sending a payload to the Moon, via direct TLI.

"In the meantime, Rocket Lab continues to prepare for the Moon Express mission, one of the contenders for the Google Lunar X Prize competition. The California-based company is buying three Electron launches to send versions of its MX-1 lunar lander. “The first vehicle is being manufactured as we speak,” [CEO Peter] Beck says. The mission is designed to launch slightly under 10 kg to the lunar surface. “It’s a more unusual mission for us,” he adds.

As the goal is to reach [lunar] transfer orbit, “it is an easier mission for us. It’s an easier trajectory for us than Sun-synchronous, so it is very simple with no additional burn needed to circularize the orbit.” The mission will, however, “stretch the legs” of the Electron, adds Beck. The first of the Moon Express launches is also scheduled by year’s end."

http://aviationweek.com/space/rocket-lab-well-ahead-after-initial-launch-test
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline Comga

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1064 on: 07/17/2017 05:41 PM »
It's actually a new article with real quotes from a journalist I respect... and that's saying a lot.

I'm really glad to see Beck's goal of regular launches hasn't died, yet. One of the fundamental tenants of the Cheap Access To Space belief that Beck appears to subscribe to is that you build a market by launching on a regular schedule, whether there's payloads available or not. This gives confidence to your sales force that the capacity really is there and when the industry sees launch space going to waste they line up for discounts. Soon you have more demand than supply and prices increase. This puts pressure on your engineering team to increase their output. A virtuous cycle forms.

Planet has what must be pretty expendable payloads for RocketLab's second and third test flight.
There's probably always an underfunded payload somewhere waiting for a free ride. 
Is that what you meant by "launch space going to waste"?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1065 on: 07/17/2017 06:03 PM »
MX1E is 250kg fully fuelled, Electron is only good for about 200-250kg to LEO.

MX1E will be doing all the work from LEO to surface, at 5.8km/s it has just enough DV to do it.

As cubesat fan I think the 1st stage of MX2 is just as interesting as landers. This is basically earth departure stage allowing cubesats launched on Electron to be delivered directly to GEO, LLO and beyond.
While there are cubesat propulsion systems in development that can take them from LEO to Jupiter, having LV deliver them to earth escape,  would free up more mass for useful payloads. Plus allow for simpler/cheaper propulsion systems.

There may end up being more commercial demand for EDS than lander.
« Last Edit: 07/17/2017 06:06 PM by TrevorMonty »

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1066 on: 07/18/2017 06:34 AM »
Update from 14 June 2017. We'll be getting live streaming for the next flights. Rocketlab have also changed their twitter handle to @RocketLab.

https://www.rocketlabusa.com/latest/progress-update-june/

"We’re busy analyzing data from flight one, and I know everyone is looking forward to hearing what we have learned. While we have a strong understanding of why we believe we didn’t quite reach orbit, we’ll be looking to make a formal conclusion about an absolute root cause. As soon as we’re ready, we’ll look to make more details publicly available."

"One of piece of news which may be of interest - we’re supported by a wonderful fan base, and in recognition of them we have made the commitment to stream our second and third test flight."
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Offline john smith 19

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1067 on: 07/19/2017 11:00 AM »
MX1E is 250kg fully fuelled, Electron is only good for about 200-250kg to LEO.

MX1E will be doing all the work from LEO to surface, at 5.8km/s it has just enough DV to do it.

There may end up being more commercial demand for EDS than lander.
IOW the payload is borderline for the launcher, but both are in spec, as long as the launcher performs at least to spec, and the payload mass does not grow.

IRL all launchers have a margin for mass growth so it's tough, but that's the price you pay for building a payload with an ambitious target on a limited budget.

If successful it will be a significant coup for RocketLab.

An EDS for cubesats?

Now if they could get JPL interested....
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #1068 on: 07/19/2017 03:45 PM »
MX express are not totally relying on Electron for future missions, MX2 will most likely fly on LauncherOne.

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