Author Topic: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher  (Read 239119 times)

Offline CameronD

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #900 on: 05/18/2017 12:26 AM »
Ugh.  U.S. paperwork didn't build this rocket.  Kiwi's did!

 - Ed Kyle
With lot of US funding.

Yeah, well, that's okay..  There is a lot of money in the US and a lot of US-funded projects in NZ (James Cameron's hangout for one), but no matter how much money (and paperwork) they happen to pour in, it's still New Zealand - and still a Kiwi rocket, designed by Kiwis, built by Kiwis (mostly) and launched by Kiwis.

Fingers crossed.. 8)


EDIT:  I should also add "ignored by Kiwis".. but maybe a handful will take notice if/when it's successful launch.
« Last Edit: 05/18/2017 12:31 AM by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #901 on: 05/18/2017 09:04 AM »
Quote
Rocket Lab‏Verified account @RocketLabUSA 3m3 minutes ago

Mission Control (MCC) is the technological hive of Rocket Lab where more than 25,000 data channels are processed during a launch #ItsaTest

https://twitter.com/RocketLabUSA/status/865130082356146176

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #902 on: 05/18/2017 05:09 PM »
FYI, the 1st flight now has a dedicated thread: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=42966.0
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Offline CameronD

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #903 on: 05/19/2017 02:52 AM »
Quote
Rocket Lab‏Verified account @RocketLabUSA 3m3 minutes ago

Mission Control (MCC) is the technological hive of Rocket Lab where more than 25,000 data channels are processed during a launch #ItsaTest

https://twitter.com/RocketLabUSA/status/865130082356146176

To add some context, Rocketlab MCC is directly adjacent their HQ in Airpark Drive, Mangere, NZ.

This pic Looks like Just Another Control Room (JACR) and contains all the standard components:
1. The room is all dark... lots of blues and blacks.
2. View of the back of >1 person's head staring intently at the screen in front.
3. The foreground intentionally or unitentionally fuzzed out so no proprietary info is given away.
4. Big screen on the wall in the background, often showing the same information as one of the screens in the foreground.
...but I do find them interesting, nonetheless. 8)

Some points I note about this one:
1. Unusually, the wall-screen is in sharp focus and actually shows telemetry and not just someone's Outlook inbox.
2. Data points for temps are all flat-lined at 2047.75degC (really? ???), others show 20.0degC there are a couple of 515's and few zeroes and what looks to be a tank pressure of 100.17kPa
 
My conclusion is they're running telemetry tests.. but the presence of more than one head in the pic means it could also simply be staged for public consumption.

« Last Edit: 05/19/2017 02:53 AM by CameronD »
With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine - however, this is not necessarily a good idea. It is hard to be sure where they are
going to land, and it could be dangerous sitting under them as they fly overhead.

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #904 on: 05/19/2017 02:54 AM »
I love how this is a "US" launch...
...founders are NZ. Factory is in NZ. Launchsite is in NZ.
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Offline ChamberPressure

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #905 on: 05/19/2017 11:32 AM »
I love how this is a "US" launch...
...founders are NZ. Factory is in NZ. Launchsite is in NZ.

Ugh.  U.S. paperwork didn't build this rocket.  Kiwi's did!

 - Ed Kyle
With lot of US funding.

Yeah, well, that's okay..  There is a lot of money in the US and a lot of US-funded projects in NZ (James Cameron's hangout for one), but no matter how much money (and paperwork) they happen to pour in, it's still New Zealand - and still a Kiwi rocket, designed by Kiwis, built by Kiwis (mostly) and launched by Kiwis.

Fingers crossed.. 8)


EDIT:  I should also add "ignored by Kiwis".. but maybe a handful will take notice if/when it's successful launch.

Yeah but what about all these new propulsion jobs opening up at RL's new factory in California? Does this mean that RL is moving their entire propulsion segment to the U.S.? Or are they merely establishing another propulsion group based in the U.S. to prepare for RL launches from Cape Canaveral/Alaska, while maintaining the NZ propulsion group for NZ based launches?

Offline savuporo

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #906 on: 05/19/2017 03:13 PM »
Yeah but what about all these new propulsion jobs opening up at RL's new factory in California? Does this mean that RL is moving their entire propulsion segment to the U.S.? Or are they merely establishing another propulsion group based in the U.S. to prepare for RL launches from Cape Canaveral/Alaska, while maintaining the NZ propulsion group for NZ based launches?

They are very obviously at the early end of establishing an engineering team in US. Maybe 5 people so far, some ex-SpaceX.
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Offline ringsider

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #907 on: 05/19/2017 03:16 PM »
I love how this is a "US" launch...
...founders are NZ. Factory is in NZ. Launchsite is in NZ.

Peter Beck made that choice when he re-domiciled the company to get US money, and the NZ government backed him up with the TSA.

Plus, from what I hear, a lot of NASA and Lockheed Martin specialized help went into the vehicle.

Offline ringsider

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #908 on: 05/19/2017 03:20 PM »
Quote
Rocket Lab‏Verified account @RocketLabUSA 3m3 minutes ago

Mission Control (MCC) is the technological hive of Rocket Lab where more than 25,000 data channels are processed during a launch #ItsaTest

https://twitter.com/RocketLabUSA/status/865130082356146176

To add some context, Rocketlab MCC is directly adjacent their HQ in Airpark Drive, Mangere, NZ.

This pic Looks like Just Another Control Room (JACR) and contains all the standard components:
1. The room is all dark... lots of blues and blacks.
2. View of the back of >1 person's head staring intently at the screen in front.
3. The foreground intentionally or unitentionally fuzzed out so no proprietary info is given away.
4. Big screen on the wall in the background, often showing the same information as one of the screens in the foreground.
...but I do find them interesting, nonetheless. 8)

Some points I note about this one:
1. Unusually, the wall-screen is in sharp focus and actually shows telemetry and not just someone's Outlook inbox.
2. Data points for temps are all flat-lined at 2047.75degC (really? ???), others show 20.0degC there are a couple of 515's and few zeroes and what looks to be a tank pressure of 100.17kPa
 
My conclusion is they're running telemetry tests.. but the presence of more than one head in the pic means it could also simply be staged for public consumption.
Also the pic is from 2016 - upper right hand corner....

Offline Phil Stooke

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #909 on: 05/19/2017 06:59 PM »
All you good folks who are argu-- I mean discussing whether Rocketlab is a US or NZ entity are missing this glaring bit of information:

They tweet as:   @RocketLabUSA 
 
On Twitter they describe themselves as from:      USA and New Zealand 

And their website is:     https://www.rocketlabusa.com/

On which is an FAQ answer which says:

Where is Rocket Lab based?

Rocket Lab is an American company with headquarters in Los Angeles and a wholly-owned New Zealand subsidiary.

So I think we can take it as settled.  By Rocketlab themselves.

« Last Edit: 05/19/2017 07:00 PM by Phil Stooke »

Offline ncb1397

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #910 on: 05/19/2017 07:02 PM »
All you good folks who are argu-- I mean discussing whether Rocketlab is a US or NZ entity are missing one glaring bit of information:

They tweet as:   @RocketLabUSA 
 

On Twitter they describe themselves as from:      USA and New Zealand 

And their website is:     https://www.rocketlabusa.com/

On which is an FAQ answer which says:

Where is Rocket Lab based?

Rocket Lab is an American company with headquarters in Los Angeles and a wholly-owned New Zealand subsidiary.

So I think we can take it as settled.  By Rocketlab themselves.

In that case, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a democracy and a republic. It is settled by Kim Jong Un himself. They want U.S. government business so they have a U.S. PO box. Nothing more.

edit: It seems that Google Street view has a image from June 2011 with a for lease sign that lists their HQ as 28,230 sq. ft before the Rocketlab logo went up. A bit bigger than most P.O. boxes, but not sure if they also have other tenants/sub-leasing as well.

edit 2: Looking at similar properties in Huntington beach, we get rates of about $1/SF/month which means rent on the property might be $340,000/year. On the other hand, their NASA contract is worth $6.9 million.  So, probably worth it and then some.
« Last Edit: 05/19/2017 07:21 PM by ncb1397 »

Offline ringsider

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #911 on: 05/19/2017 07:28 PM »


In that case, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a democracy and a republic. It is settled by Kim Jong Un himself. They want U.S. government business so they have a U.S. PO box. Nothing more.

No. What they wanted was about $120m in US venture capital investment, which is why they need to be a US Inc.

The NASA VCLS contract is a shiny bauble.

Online jamesh9000

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #912 on: 05/20/2017 09:06 PM »
An article in the New Zealand Herald has a few interesting tidbits around how Rocket Lab will be dealing with weather forecasts and deciding whether to launch:
Quote
If we get a favourable met report the day before, we'll prepare to launch."

That means the green-light decision could be made today, as MetService staff work with Beck's crew to try and figure out the conditions - an extremely complex equation that involves radar and weather balloons to measure wind velocities and air pressures at both ground and high level.

"Things are looking much more settled for Sunday and the first part of next week, it's looking pretty good in that sense," John Law of MetService said.

"The winds should be pretty light particularly Sunday, Monday and towards Tuesday as well. It's a little more changeable in the second half of that week."

There's also some talk about how the locals are experiencing the whole thing. Not a bad way to fill in 5 minutes while we wait for the launch :)  http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11858421



 

Offline savuporo

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #913 on: 05/20/2017 09:20 PM »
There are good bits in that article. They have instrumented the heck of of this vehicle, 20k 'sensors' which I'd guess is a total aggregate count of all interleaved and muxed telemetry channels, not an actual number of 'sensors'.
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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #914 on: 05/21/2017 07:24 AM »
That article gives 0 as the number of times any nation's first rocket has reached orbit. If their criteria is "any rocket", which includes suborbital rockets, then New Zealand is off the list, since Atea-1 launched in 2009 did not reach orbit. If we look at first orbital attempt, which makes more sense, then countries where the first attempt reached orbit are

USSR/R-7/Sputnik 1/4 October 1957
France/Diamant-A/Asterix/26 November 1965
China/CZ-1/DFH 1/24 April 1970
Israel/Shavit/Ofeq 1/19 September1988

So that's four countries!
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Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #915 on: 05/21/2017 07:34 AM »
Here's an Aussie article on the launch. I guess the NZ minister thinks that North Korea and Iran are super powers!

""So far, it's only superpowers that have gone into space," said Simon Bridges, New Zealand's economic development minister.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-21/new-zealand-space-launch-has-nation-reaching-for-the-stars/8545126
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline savuporo

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #916 on: 05/21/2017 08:39 AM »
I think it's just a matter of trying to maintain laser focus. Anyone in the team worrying about appearances instead of performing their job increases the likelihood of screwing up. Even if that's a tiny part of the team, just not doing it will take a part of the pressure off.

Oh come on! They will have video cameras pointed at the rocket recording the launch. Someone has to monitor this and that someone could easily live stream it. SpaceX did it with their first launches. If something goes wrong and you don't want to be embarrassed, just put in a delay and then punch the button when it goes kablooey!

Don't want to clutter the launch thread, but my point was: not about the embarrassment of failure. Knowing the world is watching live shifts the psychology for the crew, builds extra pressure and stuff like this can end up mattering. Especially when it's all new for the team.

Besides, there are tiny extra factors like making sure your live feed is clear for ITAR, or any IP that you worry about, too. It's not free, someone somewhere needs to put in effort for this. They'll get to it, but for first time, it's totally understandable to avoid any of this IMO.

« Last Edit: 05/21/2017 08:42 AM by savuporo »
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #917 on: 05/21/2017 04:48 PM »
Another article with one interesting little snippet.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/20/small-satellite-launcher-set-for-first-orbital-test-flight/

"The initial flights of the Electron will be expendable, or single-use, but officials have not ruled out modifying the booster for multiple launches."

First real indication that the Electron could evolve into an RLV. With cubesats as its main payload, halving payload to recover booster is not big deal as long as cost per kg to orbit drops. They will still need a low cost expendable for heavier payloads.

If long term plans are a RLV then move to methane engines would make sense.

Offline FishInferno

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #918 on: 05/21/2017 05:09 PM »
Another article with one interesting little snippet.

https://spaceflightnow.com/2017/05/20/small-satellite-launcher-set-for-first-orbital-test-flight/

"The initial flights of the Electron will be expendable, or single-use, but officials have not ruled out modifying the booster for multiple launches."

First real indication that the Electron could evolve into an RLV. With cubesats as its main payload, halving payload to recover booster is not big deal as long as cost per kg to orbit drops. They will still need a low cost expendable for heavier payloads.

If long term plans are a RLV then move to methane engines would make sense.

This is speculation out of left field, but if you look at how much extra room there is on the bottom of Electron, I don't think it'd be unreasonable for them to have an upgraded RLV with stretched tanks and larger engines, using the same thrust structure.
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Offline punder

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Re: RocketLab Electron Smallsat Launcher
« Reply #919 on: 05/21/2017 05:20 PM »
Just a friendly question/critique for Chris G... what is the utility of converting ISP to minutes and seconds?

Also noticed that kg/lb dual units are used for mass figures, but thrust is only in lbs.

Sorry, used to a tech writer! (Not a very good one, really.) Thanks!

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