In the next few days, US spaceflight startup Rocket Lab is set to launch its experimental Electron rocket for the second time — a test flight that will validate if the vehicle is ready for sending small commercial payloads to orbit. The rocket is slated to take off from the company’s launch facility in New Zealand, and unlike the Electron’s first test flight, we’ll get to see this one go up live.
Rocket Lab has cautioned that since this is a test flight, the company won’t fly unless conditions are more than ideal for launch and only if the rocket is truly ready. There’s a 10-day launch window for this vehicle, and Rocket Lab has the option to fly sometime during a four-hour slot each day starting at 2:30PM NZT (or 8:30PM ET the day prior for those on the East Coast). The window officially opens today, and Rocket Lab will be rolling out the Electron to the launch pad today for final preparations. But the company tells The Verge there won’t be a launch this evening. An attempt is likely in the next couple of days, though.
The company’s live stream won’t go live until 15 minutes prior to launch, so you’ll want to keep your eye on Rocket Lab’s Twitter to see when this vehicle tries to make it to space. If this launch goes well, Rocket Lab may consider itself done with test flights altogether and forge ahead with commercial missions. The company plans to live stream those launches, too, so expect many more shows from New Zealand next year.
Update December 7th, 2:30PM ET: This article has been updated after Rocket Lab confirmed a launch wouldn’t happen on December 8th in New Zealand.
More Info: www.theverge.com