Not so long ago, orbital launches required years of planning, months of testing, and meticulous preparation. But the new Rocket Lab program will allow customers to show up on the launch pad with their payload in the trunk and put it into orbit in 24 hours. Premium rates next day will apply, of course.
Responsive space program it’s actually a little more formal, but the whole idea of going from zero to running in a day or less is impressive.
“Rapid launch capability has been built into the design of Electron and our launch pads since day one, and we have made strategic investments in vertical spacecraft manufacturing to enable this,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. And, as the release states, “From the moment we arrive at the launch pad, payload integration, encapsulation and launch can be completed in as little as 24 hours.”
Your company, of course, must be part of the program and work with Rocket Lab in advance on the exact specifications, orbit, and other variables required for any successful launch. So while you can’t just show up at the launch site with a few million dollars and a satellite, you can give them all the details you need and tell them you can show up like this sometime in the next six months.
While the company has made some very quick changes in the past and launched them in fairly short timeframes for clients like the National Reconnaissance Agency, it has yet to achieve this super-fast change, but the company is confident it can be done. In fact, as Beck points out, this was one of the opportunities that the company was looking for from the very beginning. And a company representative told me that customers have asked for this ultra-short speed option many times.
Naturally, it’s also unlikely that the payload will arrive on the back of a pickup truck – Rocket Lab emphasizes its ability to build, maintain, and otherwise operate or provision satellites and support systems at its own facilities. It’s more likely that if you’re part of this new program, your companion will be waiting in a clean room somewhere in New Zealand (or starting in December in Virginia) while you iron out the latest code or wrestle with bureaucracy.
Then, when everything is clear, you call Peter and he will put your bird into orbit before the sun sets tomorrow. They may even catch the first stage on their way down.
Credit: techcrunch.com /