Author Topic: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread  (Read 183839 times)

Offline sanman

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #760 on: 05/27/2022 10:16 pm »
Varda to buy 4th Photon. Article didn't say who was launching it.

What does Varda hope to make in space?

Online trimeta

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #761 on: 05/27/2022 11:07 pm »
Varda to buy 4th Photon. Article didn't say who was launching it.

What does Varda hope to make in space?

See their dedicated thread, but I think the assumption is ZBLAN fiber optic cables.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #762 on: 05/28/2022 09:57 am »
First launch with SpaceX, others yet to be decided. They don't care about orbit just as long as it passes over recovery area at some stage.

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Offline M.E.T.

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #763 on: 06/13/2022 02:13 pm »
With the Neutron barge landing discussions briefly drawing some attention back to RL, I did a quick Electron launch check on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia says 3 launches so far in 2022, and weíre almost half way through the calendar year? What gives?

Hardly promising stuff.

Offline XRZ.YZ

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #764 on: 06/13/2022 04:19 pm »
With the Neutron barge landing discussions briefly drawing some attention back to RL, I did a quick Electron launch check on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia says 3 launches so far in 2022, and weíre almost half way through the calendar year? What gives?

Hardly promising stuff.
And with second pad operational now.

If it is capstone delay, they can use other pad to launch their next customer's payload.
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #765 on: 06/13/2022 05:11 pm »

If it is capstone delay, they can use other pad to launch their next customer's payload.

I was wondering that too.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2022 12:20 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline Lars-J

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Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #766 on: 06/15/2022 12:43 am »
If it is capstone delay, they can use other pad to launch their next customer's payload.

I was wondering that too.
OrÖ maybe it isnít a customer delay. (Or if it is, Iím not sure that helps, because that suggest they donít have enough customers)

They will soon have 3 pads operational, and their launch cadence is not scaling to match. Their launch rate has not yet come close to needing a 2nd pad.

As it looks right now, the other two pads were a waste of funding that desperately should have gone to accelerating Electron manufacturing or Neutron development.

[EDIT - Fixed quote tags]
« Last Edit: 06/16/2022 12:27 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #767 on: 06/15/2022 01:01 am »
If it is capstone delay, they can use other pad to launch their next customer's payload.

I was wondering that too.
OrÖ maybe it isnít a customer delay. (Or if it is, Iím not sure that helps, because that suggest they donít have enough customers)

They will soon have 3 pads operational, and their launch cadence is not scaling to match. Their launch rate has not yet come close to needing a 2nd pad.

As it looks right now, the other two pads were a waste of funding that desperately should have gone to accelerating Electron manufacturing or Neutron development.

[EDIT - Fixed quote tags]
Wallops was needed for government customers but nobody expected AFTS to take so long to sort out. Capstone should've flown from there.
Covid and couple launch failures threw spanner in works last two years.

You are right about pad B it could've waited.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2022 12:29 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #768 on: 06/16/2022 06:06 am »
twitter.com/tgmetsfan98/status/1537289573201502208

Quote
With multiple pads now operational, whatís the tightest bottleneck to launch cadence now?

https://twitter.com/peter_j_beck/status/1537299051615379456

Quote
Most of the time it is customer readiness. Rockets roll off the production line roughly every 18 working days right now, but we can only fly when the satellite is ready to.

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #769 on: 06/16/2022 06:51 am »
twitter.com/tgmetsfan98/status/1537289573201502208

Quote
With multiple pads now operational, whatís the tightest bottleneck to launch cadence now?

https://twitter.com/peter_j_beck/status/1537299051615379456

Quote
Most of the time it is customer readiness. Rockets roll off the production line roughly every 18 working days right now, but we can only fly when the satellite is ready to.

Makes sense.

To be clear, I do not question RLís technical ability to deliver small launch services. My issue is with the market demand required to justify a business case for it.

The above quote combined with the fact that they have conducted only 3 launches so far this year really hammers this home.

Their cadence is not constrained by their ability to supply launches, but by demand for it.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #770 on: 06/16/2022 11:47 am »
Demand != readyness. Even for smallsats, there are lead-times between choosing a launch provider and purchasing a launch, and the satellite actually making its way to the launch site.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #771 on: 06/16/2022 05:25 pm »
Demand != readyness. Even for smallsats, there are lead-times between choosing a launch provider and purchasing a launch, and the satellite actually making its way to the launch site.

Yes but those lead times happen in parallel for all missions. Rocketlab is presumably in contract negotiations with many customers at once, with the negotiations in different stages. So it is no explanation for the low launch rate.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #772 on: 06/17/2022 11:39 am »
Demand != readyness. Even for smallsats, there are lead-times between choosing a launch provider and purchasing a launch, and the satellite actually making its way to the launch site.

Yes but those lead times happen in parallel for all missions. Rocketlab is presumably in contract negotiations with many customers at once, with the negotiations in different stages. So it is no explanation for the low launch rate.
There's also the delta between a given customer making the decision that they want to launch their payload on a cubesat on Electron (or hosted payload on Photon) rather than another option (e.g. rideshare cubesat, shared smallsat, ISS hosted payload, ISS deployed cubesat or smallsat, etc), and that customer actually having developed, built, and tested that payload/vehicle and being ready to launch.

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #773 on: 06/17/2022 07:15 pm »
Demand != readyness. Even for smallsats, there are lead-times between choosing a launch provider and purchasing a launch, and the satellite actually making its way to the launch site.

Yes but those lead times happen in parallel for all missions. Rocketlab is presumably in contract negotiations with many customers at once, with the negotiations in different stages. So it is no explanation for the low launch rate.
There's also the delta between a given customer making the decision that they want to launch their payload on a cubesat on Electron (or hosted payload on Photon) rather than another option (e.g. rideshare cubesat, shared smallsat, ISS hosted payload, ISS deployed cubesat or smallsat, etc), and that customer actually having developed, built, and tested that payload/vehicle and being ready to launch.

I think the point is that if it takes N months between "signing a contract to launch on Electron" and "ready to hand the satellite over to Rocket Lab," then if at time T Rocket Lab started getting one contract a month, starting at time T+N Rocket Lab should be launching once a month. Doesn't matter how long N is, it imposes a delay but after N months they should be launching at whatever their contract-signing cadence is.

And yes, obviously N isn't the same for all contracts, but that should mean they sometimes launch multiple times a month in addition to sometimes skipping months. If they only skip months, that isn't consistent with their contract-signing cadence being one a month.

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #774 on: 06/18/2022 12:42 am »
Demand != readyness. Even for smallsats, there are lead-times between choosing a launch provider and purchasing a launch, and the satellite actually making its way to the launch site.

Yes but those lead times happen in parallel for all missions. Rocketlab is presumably in contract negotiations with many customers at once, with the negotiations in different stages. So it is no explanation for the low launch rate.
There's also the delta between a given customer making the decision that they want to launch their payload on a cubesat on Electron (or hosted payload on Photon) rather than another option (e.g. rideshare cubesat, shared smallsat, ISS hosted payload, ISS deployed cubesat or smallsat, etc), and that customer actually having developed, built, and tested that payload/vehicle and being ready to launch.

I think the point is that if it takes N months between "signing a contract to launch on Electron" and "ready to hand the satellite over to Rocket Lab," then if at time T Rocket Lab started getting one contract a month, starting at time T+N Rocket Lab should be launching once a month. Doesn't matter how long N is, it imposes a delay but after N months they should be launching at whatever their contract-signing cadence is.

And yes, obviously N isn't the same for all contracts, but that should mean they sometimes launch multiple times a month in addition to sometimes skipping months. If they only skip months, that isn't consistent with their contract-signing cadence being one a month.

Yes.

In short, they produce enough rockets to launch once every 18 days, but the market only required them to launch 3 times this year to date. Hence, thereís a rather large gap between current supply and demand.

Offline XRZ.YZ

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #775 on: 06/19/2022 03:15 am »
They have been in this kind of launch cadence since 2019. And they claim to be able to launch 12 times per year since 2018 and never materialized that until now.
How much demand is in this market and how much delay to expect for average customer is not be a new thing. And you would expect they can plan their capacity accordingly.

Wallops is for government contracts, but eventually, NASA, NRO, DOD all have no problem launch from NZ.

With SpX transporter mission launching every quarter now, and lots of other SLV startup begin launch business. Lack of demand is expected.
(Even for SpX transporter mission, they are launching less payload now than earlier mission 143->88->105->40->59)
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Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #776 on: 06/22/2022 09:15 pm »
https://twitter.com/rocketlab/status/1539718347176443904

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Weíve completed the 2,000th successful hot fire of our Rutherford engines! 260 of these 3D-printed, electric pump fed Rutherford engines have now been launched to space, playing a pivotal role in enabling frequent and reliable access to space for smallsats.

Offline XRZ.YZ

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #777 on: 07/06/2022 09:24 pm »
https://investors.rocketlabusa.com/news/news-details/2022/Rocket-Lab-Introduces-Responsive-Space-Program/default.aspx

RL announce responsible launch program.

Given the bottleneck is customer payload readiness, it's not surprising they may have some already build rocket in hand that can be used in short noticed.

But however, who is going to use this other than gov?

If you only have very few satellites, it's unlikely you can build a satellite this quick, or have a spare satellite in ready for launch.

If you are a large constellation that launch frequently (like Planet lab), you can just add whatever you need to next batch to be launched. And you may also have in orbit spares.

However, the announcement also has this section
Quote
Responsive Satellites:

Whether itís one or one hundred satellites, Rocket Lab can design, manufacture, launch and operate configurable satellites tailored to each customersí mission. To support responsive replenishment of orbital assets, these satellites can be built and kept in a state of launch readiness, awaiting integration with the customer payload and launched on demand, either on Electron or alternative launch vehicles. Rocket Labís deep space systems heritage spans complete satellites through to subsystems and individual components, including space solar power, structures, radios, separation systems, propulsion, flight software, star trackers, and reaction wheels. More than 1,700 spacecraft on orbit feature Rocket Lab technology, including Photon spacecraft designed, built, launched and operated by Rocket Lab. By producing these vital subsystems in-house, we have a high degree of supply chain certainty and rapid production timelines.

Ready to use satellite bus, that's interesting. But unless the constellation is build on RL bus, I think you can not plug in your payload and launch tomorrow.

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Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #778 on: 07/06/2022 09:51 pm »
Perhaps they're hoping for interest from companies which aren't far enough along to be married to a specific satellite bus platform, so they can quickly throw the payload onto a Photon just to see if that part works while exploring options for the satellite bus. And of course, Rocket Lab would love if they concluded that Photon turns out to be the right bus choice, or at least the customer likes what they see from Rocket Lab spacecraft components and uses those in the real satellite bus.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Rocket Lab General Discussion Thread
« Reply #779 on: 07/06/2022 09:53 pm »
https://investors.rocketlabusa.com/news/news-details/2022/Rocket-Lab-Introduces-Responsive-Space-Program/default.aspx

RL announce responsible launch program.

Given the bottleneck is customer payload readiness, it's not surprising they may have some already build rocket in hand that can be used in short noticed.

But however, who is going to use this other than gov?

If you only have very few satellites, it's unlikely you can build a satellite this quick, or have a spare satellite in ready for launch.

If you are a large constellation that launch frequently (like Planet lab), you can just add whatever you need to next batch to be launched. And you may also have in orbit spares.

However, the announcement also has this section
Quote
Responsive Satellites:

Whether itís one or one hundred satellites, Rocket Lab can design, manufacture, launch and operate configurable satellites tailored to each customersí mission. To support responsive replenishment of orbital assets, these satellites can be built and kept in a state of launch readiness, awaiting integration with the customer payload and launched on demand, either on Electron or alternative launch vehicles. Rocket Labís deep space systems heritage spans complete satellites through to subsystems and individual components, including space solar power, structures, radios, separation systems, propulsion, flight software, star trackers, and reaction wheels. More than 1,700 spacecraft on orbit feature Rocket Lab technology, including Photon spacecraft designed, built, launched and operated by Rocket Lab. By producing these vital subsystems in-house, we have a high degree of supply chain certainty and rapid production timelines.

Ready to use satellite bus, that's interesting. But unless the constellation is build on RL bus, I think you can not plug in your payload and launch tomorrow.

Launch on need is generally a government requirement, not a commercial constellation requirement, the exception may be for the purposes of rapid satellite replacement should a satellite fail. You might not be able to have in-orbit spares everywhere, especially for small constellations.

That last section is pitching for companies to have Rocket Lab build satellites for them, and then keep  them in storage, for launch on need purposes.
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