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UPDATE: Rocket Lab’s First Commercial Launch Up In The Air

By | June 27, 2018
Rocket Lab’s First Commercial Launch Might Happen Tomorrow

Electron Rocket Photo Credit: Rocket Lab

UPDATED 06/28/2018 — Rocket Lab will no longer pursue its first commercial launch, “It’s Business Time,” within the current launch window, which closes on July 6, following identification of an issue with motor controller behavior during pre-launch checks on June 27.

The motor controller behavior was similar to that previously identified during wet dress rehearsal operations in April. This issue was analyzed and corrective measures in place, however a similar issue presented during yesterday’s pre-launch operational checks, the company stated. All systems had previously performed nominally during a wet dress rehearsal on June 16. A motor controller is a device that governs commands given to selected hardware and software systems throughout the launch vehicle.

Rocket Lab Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Peter Beck said the team will take additional time to review data before a new launch window will be confirmed.

“Our test program was about making it to orbit and deploying our first customer satellites. Having achieved that and moved into commercial operations, mission assurance is our focus for every customer flying on Electron,” he said. “There’s only one measure that matters in the launch industry and that’s 100 per cent mission success. We’ll take some time to review the data and tweak whatever we need to ahead of a new launch window to make sure we achieve that.”

Rocket Lab will confirm a new launch window once the data review is complete.

06/27/2018 — Rocket Lab’s June 26 attempt at its first commercial launch was scrubbed shortly before liftoff due to an issue with the Electron’s rocket motor controller. The launch was originally scheduled for mid-April and postponed to June due to similar issues with the launch vehicle’s engine.

Rocket Lab’s previous launch attempt on June 23 was postponed due to an issue with the tracking dish on the Chatham Islands in New Zealand.

Electron’s debut commercial flight will eventually loft two satellites for Spire Global, Tvak Nanosatellite Systems’ GeoOptics nanosatellite, and NABEO, a drag-sail technology demonstration satellite.

Rocket Lab did not immediately confirm a new launch date. The company has another four-hour launch window available tomorrow and each day throughout the next week. The launch window remains open until July 6.