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Electron soars to orbit on Rocket Lab’s “Still Testing” flight

21 Jan 2018, 08:20 UTC
Electron soars to orbit on Rocket Lab’s “Still Testing” flight
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Rocket Lab successfully launched its second Electron rocket on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. Photo Credit: Rocket Lab
On Sunday, January 21, at 2:43 p.m. NZDT (01:43 GMT), Rocket Lab successfully completed the second test flight of the company’s Electron rocket from their own Launch Complex 1 on the Māhia Peninsula in New Zealand.

The test, simply called “Still Testing,” was previously slated for December 2017, but after exhausting most of their 10-day launch window, Rocket Lab postponed until this month.

The new 9-day launch window officially opened at 2:30 p.m. New Zealand Time (01:30 GMT) on January 20, 2018. Each day permitted a four-hour window for the launch attempt. The first day of the window, weather concerns and two “rogue” boats in the water caused enough delays that a scrub was called. Fortunately for the company, that was the only scrub day this time around.

Liftoff occured shortly after the launch window opened on the second day. At about two and a half minutes into the flight, the first stage separated successfully and the second stage, powered by a variant of Rocket Lab’s Rutherford engine that’s designed for the vacuum of space, ignited as intended. At ...

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