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 itâ€™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.Low Earth Orbit
"Return to Sender" will loft 30 satellites to a sun-synchronous orbit at 500 km altitude for a range of customers, including TriSept, Unseenlabs, Swarm, Te Pūnaha Ātea - Auckland Space Institute, and global gaming software company Valve. The satellites span a range of operations, from TriSept’s tech demonstration of new tether systems designed to accelerate spacecraft reentry and reduce orbital debris, through to the next generation of maritime surveillance satellites for Unseenlabs, as well as communications satellites for Swarm. The mission will also deploy New Zealand’s first student-built satellite, the APSS-1 satellite for Te Pūnaha Ātea - Auckland Space Institute at The University of Auckland. The DRAGRACER mission will test the effectiveness of new tether technologies designed to accelerate spacecraft reentry and reduce orbital debris at the conclusion of space missions. TriSept has completed the integration of a pair of qualified Millennium Space Systems 6U small satellites, one featuring the tether drag device and one without. The controlled spacecraft should deorbit in approximately 45 days, while the second spacecraft is expected to remain in orbit for seven to nine years. BRO-2 and BRO-3 are the second and third satellites in French company Unseenlabs’ planned constellation of about 20 satellites dedicated to maritime surveillance. Swarm will launch the latest 24 1/4U SpaceBEE satellites to continue building out its planned constellation of 150 satellites to provide affordable satellite communications services to IoT devices in remote regions around the world. The student-built Waka Āmiorangi Aotearoa APSS-1 satellite is designed to monitor electrical activity in Earth’s upper atmosphere to test whether ionospheric disturbances can predict earthquakes. Extra payload on this flight is a 150 mm 3D printed Half-Life Gnome Chompski. Created for Valve Software's co-founder Gabe Newell by design studio Weta Workshop, it serves as an homage to the innovation and creativity of gamers worldwide, and also aims to test and qualify a novel 3D printing technique that could be employed for future spacecraft components. Gnome will remain attached to the Kick Stage and will burn up on reentry. Besides payloads, this flight will also serve as a test of Electron's reusability. Rocket Lab will attempt to bring Electron’s first stage back to Earth under a parachute system for a controlled water landing before collection by a recovery vessel.Sun-Synchronous Orbit #ReturnToSender Electron - Maiden Flight Pacific
This return to flight mission is dedicated for Capella Space, an information services company providing Earth observation data on demand. Capella’s payload, ‘Sequoia’, is a single 100 kg class microsatellite which will be the first publicly available satellite in the company’s commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) constellation. By positioning the satellite to a 45-degree inclination, Capella Space will maximize coverage over important areas such as the Middle East, Korea, Japan, Europe, South East Asia, Africa, and the U.S. The mission name is a nod to Capella’s SAR technology that provides high quality images of the Earth day or night, and in any weather conditions, as well as a nod to the infamous advertisement campaign for “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter”. Capella’s space-based radar can detect sub-0.5 meter changes on the surface of the Earth, providing insights and data that can be used for security, agricultural and infrastructure monitoring, as well as disaster response and recovery.Low Earth Orbit
‘Pics Or It Didn’t Happen’ is the 13th mission for Rocket Lab. It was planned to deploy seven imaging small satellites to a 500km circular low Earth orbit for a range of customers including Spaceflight Inc.’s customer Canon Electronics, as well as Planet and In-Space Missions.Sun-Synchronous Orbit
This rideshare mission carries small satellites for NASA, University of New South Wales and for NRO. The mission has been named "Don't Stop Me Now" in recognition of Rocket Lab board member and avid Queen fan Scott Smith, who recently passed away.Sun-Synchronous Orbit
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 worldâ€™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