Rocket Lab announced that launch of their light rocket called Electron is delayed due the poor weather conditions at Launch Complex 1 at Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand.
Rocket Lab suffers for delay since last Sunday. Maiden flight of the Electron rocket carrying capsule with sensors and scientific equipment was planned originally for 21st May, but due the unstable weather Company moved launch to Tuesday. Now it seems that launch will be delayed again. Weather conditions on Māhia Peninsula, where Launch Complex 1 is placed is still rough and it is possible that Rocket Lab will soon announce about moving launch to Thursday. Still it is estimated date and it can be changed if weather will not be better. Launch was scheduled for 24th May to 01:00 UTC, Company has not confirmed launch until now.
Electron is two stage rocket equipped with ten (first stage – nine, second stage – single engine) Rutherford engines fueled with RP-1/LOX propellant. Rocket will be able to deliver 150 kg of payload to 500 km altitude to Sun Synchronous Orbit. Rocket weighs 10.5 t with length of 17 m and diameter at 1.2 m. Rocket Lab claims that single launch of the Electron with 150 kg of payload to SSO should cost around $4.9 million. Rocket is built with wide usage of carbon composites and aircraft grade alloys. Many parts, including engine parts, were manufactured with 3D printing technology. Rutherford engines are equipped with electrically powered pumps which are pressurizing fuel instead pressurization in the tanks. Fuel is coolant, it is cooling engine by flowing through cooling system before it will reach combustion chamber. Brushless electric motors actuating the pumps are generating 37 kW of power at 40 000 RPM powered by lithium battery pack is providing 1 mW of power. Engine is able to give 20.33 kN of thrust on sea level.