List of Electron rocket launches

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The Electron
The Electron

The Electron designed by Rocket Lab debuted in May 2017.[1] Since then the Electron has flown ten total flights with nine successes and one failure.

The first flight, known as "It's a Test", launched on 25 May 2017 and successfully separated the first and second stages, as well as the fairings. However, at 224 kilometres (139 mi) altitude and on the nominal trajectory to reach orbit, the rocket lost communication with the ground, and the rocket was thus destroyed for safety reasons, per the planned launch safety protocol.[2] The mission failed due to a glitch in communication equipment on the ground.

Several follow-on missions, including "Still Testing", "It's Business Time" and "This One's For Pickering", delivered multiple small payloads to low Earth orbit. The most recent mission, "Birds of a Feather," successfully delivered NROL-151 to orbit.

Launch history[edit]

Launch statistics[edit]

Launch Outcomes[edit]

3
6
9
12
15
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
  •   Failure
  •   Partial failure
  •   Success
  •   Scheduled
  •   TBD

Launch Sites[edit]

1
2
3
4
5
6
2017
2018
2019
2020

Booster Tests and Recoveries[edit]

1
2
3
4
5
6
2017
2018
2019
2020
  •   No Attempt
  •   Failure
  •   Atmospheric Test Success
  •   Ballute Test Success
  •   Recovered [Ocean]
  •   Recovered [Helicopter]

Rocket Configurations[edit]

1
2
3
4
5
6
2017
2018
2019
2020
  •   Block I
  •   Block Upgrade [Thrusters]
  •   Block Upgrade [Ballute]
  •   Block Upgrade [Parafoil]

2017–2018[edit]

Electron experienced its first successful launch in January 2018, and launched their first mission for NASA in December 2018.

Flight No. Name Date/time
(UTC)
Launch site Payload Payload mass Destination Customer(s) Outcome
1 "It's a Test" 25 May 2017, 04:20[3] Mahia LC-1 None None 500 km 85° LEO Rocket Lab (flight test) Failure
The rocket successfully launched and performed first stage separation and fairing separation. After reaching an altitude of about 224 km (140 mi) (planned 500 km (310 mi) at 85° inclination[4]), the telemetry feed to the range safety officer was lost and the rocket was destroyed by range safety.[5][6] Post-flight analysis determined the issue to be a very simple ground software failure rather than a problem with the rocket.[7]
2 "Still Testing" 21 January 2018, 01:43[8] Mahia LC-1 13 kg (29 lb)[10] LEO Success
Carrying CubeSats for Planet Labs and Spire Global.[11] The two Lemur-2 satellites were put into a circularized orbit by the new "Electron kick stage" which was not announced until after the launch.[12] Between December 2017 and January 2018 the launch was delayed six times due to weather, orbital traffic, rocket, and range safety issues.[13][14][15][16] Put Lemur-2 payloads into 500 km (310 mi) high orbit at 85° inclination while the Dove Pioneer satellite was put into a 289 km (180 mi) by 533 km (331 mi).[4][17]
3 "It's Business Time"[18] 11 November 2018, 03:50 Mahia LC-1[18][19]
Approx 45 kg (99 lb)[10] 500 km 85° LEO
  • Spire Global
  • GeoOptics
  • Irvine CubeSat STEM Program
  • High Performance Space Structure Systems
  • Fleet Space Technologies
Success
The 11 November 2018 launch was successful; all cubesats planned to be deployed were deployed in orbit. The launch, originally planned for April 2018, had been delayed several times: to June/July after unusual behavior was identified in a motor controller during a wet dress rehearsal,[18][21] by a few days after a ground tracking antenna issue in the Chatham Island tracking station[23] and indefinitely after another motor controller issue.[24][25] In October a nine-day launch window was announced starting 11 November.[26] Put payloads into 500 km (310 mi) at 85° inclination.[4]
4 "This One's For Pickering"[27] 16 December 2018, 06:33[28] Mahia LC-1 78 kg (172 lb)[29] 500 km 85° LEO NASA[30] Success
Multiple CubeSats for the NASA-sponsored ELaNa-19 mission.[30] They were deployed from RailPOD dispensers. Was the first NASA mission for Rocket Lab.[31] Put payload into 500 km (310 mi) at 85° inclination.[4]

2019[edit]

Flight No. Name Date/time
(UTC)
Launch site Payload Payload Mass Destination Customer(s) Outcome
5 "Two Thumbs Up"[32] 28 March 2019, 23:27[33] Mahia LC-1 R3D2[34] 150 kg (330 lb)[35] 425 km 39.5° LEO DARPA Success
Radio Frequency Risk Reduction Deployment Demonstration (R3D2) will qualify a new type of membrane reflectarray antenna.[36] Northrop Grumman serves as the prime contractor for R3D2. Blue Canyon Technologies provided the satellite bus, MMA Design provided the antenna.[37] Launched into a 39.5° orbit that is 425 km (264 mi) orbit.[38]
6 "That's a Funny Looking Cactus"[39] 5 May 2019, 06:00[40] Mahia LC-1 180 kg (400 lb)[40] 500 km 40° LEO U.S. Air Force Success
Launch is part of the "Rapid Agile Launch Initiative" (RALI) for the U.S. Air Force.[41] Was first night launch of an Electron and its heaviest payload so far.[42] Put payload into 500 km (310 mi) at 40° inclination.[4]
7 "Make it Rain" 29 June 2019, 04:30[43] Mahia LC-1 [44][45][46] 80 kg (180 lb)[47] LEO
Success
BlackSky Global 3 is part of a constellation of Earth-observing satellites.[45][46] SpaceBEE CubeSats are manufactured by Swarm Technologies to test two-way satellite communication and data relay. SpaceBEE 8 weighs 0.4 kg (0.88 lb) while SpaceBEE 9 weighs 0.7 kg (1.54 lb).[48][49]
8 "Look Ma, No Hands" 19 August 2019, 12:12[50] Mahia LC-1
  • Breizh Recon Orbiter (BRO-1)
  • BlackSky’s Global 4
  • Experimental Satellites x 2
[51]
Approx 80 kg (180 lb)[10] LEO
Success
Breizh Recon Orbiter (BRO-1) is part of a constellation used for tracking maritime vessels. BlackSky Global 4 is part of a constellation of Earth-observing satellites. The two experimental satellites for Air Force Space Command are part of the "Pearl White" technology demonstration program.[51][52]
9 "As the Crow Flies" 17 October 2019, 01:22[53] Mahia LC-1 Palisade[54] Approx 20 kg (44 lb)[10] 1200 km LEO Astro Digital[55] Success
Palisade is a 16U CubeSat technology demonstrator satellite.[56] An upgraded, bi-propellant kick stage lifted the satellite to a 1,200 km circular orbit, and then deorbited itself.[57]
10 "Running Out Of Fingers" 6 December 2019, 08:18 [58][59] Mahia LC-1
[59]
Approx 77 kg (170 lb)[10] 385-400 km LEO Success
ATL-1 will test new thermal insulation in space. FossaSat-1 is a communications satellite that uses low-power radio frequencies to provide Internet of Things connectivity. NOOR-1A and NOOR-1B will demonstrate intersatellite link technology. SMOG-P will use a spectrum analyzer to measure electromagnetic pollution. TRSI Sat will provide flight tracking services. ALE-2 will create artificial shooting star displays.[59] The six satellites other than ALE-2 are PocketQubes, forming Alba Cluster 2 of Alba Orbital.

This mission also includes the S-band telemetry, onboard flight computer systems, and a reaction control system to orient the booster and to live-gather data during the first stage’s atmospheric re-entry as part of Rocket Lab’s plans to re-use and re-fly rocket boosters in future missions.[60][61] After the launch Rocket Lab said that the reusability tests were successful.[62]

2020[edit]

Flight

No.

Name Date/time
(UTC)
Launch site Payload Payload Mass Destination Customer(s) Outcome
11 "Birds of a Feather" 31 January 2020, 02:56[63] Mahia LC-1 NROL-151 Classified 590km x 610 km 70.9° LEO National Reconnaissance Office Success
First launch for the National Reconnaissance Office. The NRO competitively awarded the contract under the Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract vehicle. RASR allows the NRO to explore new launch opportunities that can provide a streamlined, commercial approach for getting small satellites into space. For the second time, the Electron booster made it past the atmosphere. Rocket Lab again said their reusablity test were successful. [63]

Upcoming launches[edit]

In July 2019 Rocket Lab expected to have launches every two weeks in 2020.[64]

2020[edit]

Date/time
(UTC)
Launch site Payload Planned
destination
Customer
26 March 2020[65] Mahia LC-1 ANDESITE LEO Boston University
ANDESITE (Ad-Hoc Network Demonstration for Extended Satellite-Based Inquiry and Other Team Endeavors), is a 6U CubeSat mission being developed by the Boston University Center for Space Physics.
Q1 2020[66] Mahia LC-1
  • Dragracer 1
  • Dragracer 2
LEO TriSept
Dragracer is a mission to demonstrate electrodynamic deorbiting of satellites.
Q2 2020[67] Mahia LC-1 Photon TBA Rocket Lab
Will be the first launch of the Photon satellite bus made by Rocket Lab.
Q2 2020[68] Wallops LC-2 Monolith LEO U.S. Air Force
First launch of Electron rocket from Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 2 in Virginia, from the US East Coast.[69]
July

2020[70][71]

Mahia LC-1
Moon
MX-1E lunar lander, originally an entry for the Google Lunar X Prize, now intended for commercial Moon missions.[74][75] The MX-1E will carry the International Lunar Observatory, MoonLIGHT, and Celestis Luna 02 to the Moon.[76] The International Lunar Observatory may be placed on a 5 km rim on a crater called Malapert to look at the center of the Milky Way.[77][78]
2020 (TBD)[70][71] Mahia LC-1 MX-1E II Moon Moon Express
MX-1E lunar lander.[74] The payloads on board the MX-1E are not yet announced. The second flight of the MX-1E is called Lunar Outpost MX-3.
2020

(TBD)[79][80]

Mahia LC-1 MCNAIR LEO Akash Systems Inc.
MCNAIR will be launched into a 500 km high sun-synchronous orbit with a 97.8° inclination. The MCNAIR mission has the purpose of testing the "GaN-on-Diamond transmitter".[80]
2020 (TBD)[70] Mahia LC-1 Flock-x × 20–25[81] LEO Planet Labs
A constellation of satellites for Earth observation. 20 to 25 micro-satellites will be released during the launch.[82]
2020 (TBD)[70] Mahia LC-1
  • Circle 1
Circle Aerospace
2020 (TBD)[79] Mahia LC-1
  • CE-SAT I Mark II
  • CE-SAT II
LEO Canon Electronics
With Spaceflight,[83] launching the Canon Electronics Satellite I (CE-SAT) Mark II, the first mass-production model of CE-SAT I, an Earth-observing satellite.[84] The CE-Sat II has two cameras on the satellite which has different resolutions, also for Earth observation.[83][85]

2021[edit]

Date/time
(UTC)
Launch site Payload Planned
destination
Customer
2021 (TBD)[86] Wallops LC-2 CAPSTONE Lunar orbit NASA
Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) is a cubesat mission that will serve as a precursor for the planned Lunar Gateway. Will use Photon to place CAPSTONE on a trajectory to the moon.

2022[edit]

Date/time
(UTC)
Launch site Payload Planned
destination
Customer
2022 (TBD)[87] Mahia LC-1 Archinaut One LEO Made In Space, Inc.
Archinaut is a versatile in-space robotic precision manufacturing and assembly system. Archinaut would enable in-space production and assembly of the backbone structures for large telescopes, repair, augmentation, or repurposing of existing spacecraft, and robotic assembly of new space stations. Made In Space is currently in ground testing of a central spar onto which rolled up solar arrays can be extended and locked into place.

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External links[edit]