The American-New Zealand company Rocket Lab carried out the fortieth launch of its Electron launcher last month (including an orbital flight). Which is now the world's first commercial microlauncher.
In the service of Earth observation
On August 23 at 23:45 UTC, a new Electron microlancer from Rocket Lab was launched from the Mahia peninsula, in New Zealand.
The aim was to place an Earth observation (radar) satellite belonging to California-based Capella Space into a low circular orbit: Acadia 1.
On August 23 Rocket Lab for the first time revolved one of Electron's first stage engines, which had already been used in May 2022.
The August 23 flight also ended with a parachute descent of the first stage, before recovery at sea using a Rocket Lab vessel.
An Electron suborbital derivative
Electron has completed 7 successful orbital missions since the start of the year, including a suborbital mission on June 18.The latter carried a classified payload from the American military-industrial company Dynetics, aboard an Electron-derived sounding rocket christened Haste (Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron).
Rocket Lab, which was founded in New Zealand in 2006 and, now has two launch sites to implement its launcher, since it has also been operating a launch pad at the Wallops Island regional spaceport in Virginia since January this year.
Since its commissioning in May 2017, Electron has successfully completed 36 orbital missions and suffered 3 failures.
It is now the world's first commercial microlancer. All categories combined, it is the second most frequently used American launcher, behind Falcon 9 from SpaceX.
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