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March 5-11, 2018 / Vol 37, No 10 / Hawai`i Island, USA

2 Mar 2018, 20:39 UTC
March 5-11, 2018 / Vol 37, No 10 / Hawai`i Island, USA
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Rocket Lab Preparing 3rd Launch Possibly in March, Tracking Humanity Star

The third and fully commercial flight for Rocket Lab Electron could occur as early as the second week of March through March 28 deploying NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XIX mission with 10 CubeSats from various institutes and universities. Under full production, CEO and Founder Peter Beck states Rocket Lab is planning to launch once per week / 50 rockets a year from Launch Complex 1 on the southern tip of New Zealand Mahia Peninsula. There are up to 9 missions on the manifest for 2018. At US$4.9M per flight, the primarily 3D-printed, black carbon composite rocket is 17-meters tall, 1.2-meter diameter and powered by 9 kerosene / liquid oxygen fueled Rutherford engines, each providing 4,600 pounds of thrust. To commemorate the country’s recent success New Zealand Post issued ‘2018 New Zealand in Space‘ stamps. Rocket Lab has a control center in Auckland 380 kilometers northwest of the launch site, a factory in New Zealand and a headquarters in Huntington Beach CA. The 1-meter diameter, geodesic ‘Humanity Star’ sphere covered in 65 highly reflective panels is expected to remain in orbit until ~October, and become the brightest object ...

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