According to Rocket Lab, the company’s Electron rocket will return to flight with a launch scheduled for a nine-day period beginning from November 11, 2018
On October 30, 2018, Rocket Lab announced its plans to perform a long-delayed launch of an Electron rocket that is tasked to carry several small satellites during a mid-November launch window. The company founded by Peter Beck in 2006 is headquartered in California, with its launch operations in New Zealand. According to the company’s official statement, its third Electron mission, dubbed as ‘It’s Business Time,’ is scheduled for a launch during a nine-day period that opens on November 11, 2018. The rocket will be launched from the company’s launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. The area has a four-hour launch window, which will be available each day, starting at 4:00 p.m. local time.
The mission was originally scheduled for an April launch. However, the schedule was postponed, owing to a motor controller problem in one of the rocket’s first stage engines. The issue was addressed and the launch was rescheduled for late June. However, the issue resurfaced. While speaking in an interview in August, Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab stated that the company had decided to make changes to the design of the controller to address the issue. The delay in the launch was used to add more payloads to the mission’s manifest.
According to the company’s announcement on October 29, Fleet, an Australia-based company focused on developing a constellation of smallsats for Internet of Things services, is seeking to blast two of its Proxima 1.5-unit cubesats on the Electron. It will be Fleet’s leading mission given a successful schedule for Electron. The company’s 3-unit cubesats is awaiting for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 later in November and an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in late 2018. Other payloads that will join Proxima cubesats include, two Lemur-2 cubesats from Spire, a satellite built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems for weather satellite constellation company GeoOptics, and IRVINE01, a cubesat built by students from six high schools in the City of Irvine, California.