Electron is a two-stage orbital expendable launch vehicle (with an optional third stage) developed by the American aerospace company Rocket Lab. Electron is a small-lift launch vehicle designed to launch small satellites and cubesats to sun-synchronous orbit and low earth orbit. The Electron is the first orbital class rocket to use electric-pump-fed engines, powered by the 9 Rutherford engines on the first stage.
Rocket Lab is an American aerospace manufacturer with a wholly owned New Zealand subsidiary. The company develops lightweight, cost-effective commercial rocket launch services. The Electron Program was founded on the premise that small payloads such as CubeSats require dedicated small launch vehicles and flexibility not currently offered by traditional rocket systems. Its rocket, the Electron, is a light-weight rocket and is now operating commercially. Electron currently launches from only Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand however they are currently looking into developing a facility in the US.
CAPSTONE (Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment) is a 12-U cubesat mission to test operations in near rectiliniar halo orbit around the Moon, which is to be used for the Lunar Gateway space station. Mission will verify the near rectilinear halo orbit characteristics, spacecraft-to-spacecraft navigation services in that orbit, and provide valuable experience of small sat launch to the Moon.
Archinaut One is a mission to demonstrate the ability of small spacecraft to manufacture and assemble spacecraft components in low-Earth orbit. Once it’s positioned in low-Earth orbit, the spacecraft will 3D-print two beams that extend 32 feet (10 meters) out from each side of the spacecraft. As manufacturing progresses, each beam will unfurl two solar arrays that generate as much as five times more power than traditional solar panels on spacecraft of similar size.
This is the Rocket Lab's 10th flight. It carries several small satellites for international commercial customers. This is also the first flight to feature an upgraded first stage of the Electron rocket, which is now equipped with new hardware and sensors. After completing its mission, Electron's first stage will perform a guided atmospheric re-entry, gathering data necessary for the development of Rocket Lab's reusability program.Low Earth Orbit
Encapsulated in Electron's fairing will be a single spacecraft for Astro Digital, a California-based satellite manufacturer and operator. The Landmapper-BC remote sensing satellite features a broad coverage multispectral imaging system with a resolution of 22 meters per pixel. Eventually, Astro Digital plans to extend the Landmapper-BC constellation to capture daily, multispectral imagery of the world’s arable land. The mission is named 'As The Crow Flies' in a nod to Astro Digital's Corvus Platform, which provides flexible and cost-effective solutions across a wide range of applications and mission profiles on bus variants ranging from 6U and 16U CubeSats to ESPA Class. Corvus is also a widely-distributed genus of birds which includes crows.Low Earth Orbit
Rideshare mission for Spaceflight. Electron will launch seven spacecraft, including a commercial Earth-observing microsatellite for BlackSky, two CubeSats for U.S. Special Operations Command, a pair of tiny prototype data relay nodes for Swarm Technologies, a student-built payload from Australia called ACRUX-1, and a satellite whose identity and owner remain a secret. The mission is named "Make it Rain" in a nod to the high volume of rainfall in Seattle, where Spaceflight is headquartered, as well in New Zealand where Launch Complex 1 is located.Low Earth Orbit
The mission has been procured by the DoD Space Test Program in partnership with Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) as part of its Rapid Agile Launch Initiative .The payload consists of three satellites, SPARC-1, Falcon ODE and Harbinger, that will deployed in a precise sequence. The Space Plug and Play Architecture Research CubeSat-1 (SPARC-1) mission, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV), is a joint Swedish-United States experiment to explore technology developments in avionics miniaturization, software defined radio systems, and space situational awareness (SSA). The Falcon Orbital Debris Experiment (Falcon ODE), sponsored by the United States Air Force Academy, will evaluate ground-based tracking of space objects. Harbinger, a commercial small satellite built by York Space Systems and sponsored by the U.S Army, will demonstrate the ability of an experimental commercial system to meet DoD space capability requirements.Low Earth Orbit
Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration (R3D2) is a mission for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). It will test a prototype reflect array antenna which is intended to improve radio communications in small spacecraft.Low Earth Orbit #R3D2
Electron's first commercial launch will feature two Lemur-2 cubesats for Spire Global, a single cubesat for GeoOptics, a NABEO drag sail demonstrator for High Performance Space Structure Systems, an IRVINE01 cubesat from the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program, and two Proxima cubesats from Fleet Space Technologies.Low Earth Orbit #ItsBusinessTime
The second test flight of the Electron small satellite launch vehicle. It is also the first Electron flight to carry commercial payload. It includes a Dove cubesat for company Planet intended for Earth observation. And also two Lemur-2 cubesats for company Spire which carry payloads for meteorology and ship traffic tracking.Low Earth Orbit #StillTesting