The aerospace startup Rocket Lab will try again this weekend to launch its first commercial mission in space, a flight that the company has dubbed "It's Business Time". The small satellite launcher aims to send seven tiny probes into the Earth's low orbit on its Electron rocket. If successful, the flight will officially launch commercial operations for the company, which has so far only carried out two test flights.
However, Rocket Lab had trouble finding "It's Business Time" in the air. The company, which launches from a private site in New Zealand, has tried several times to fly this particular mission, but has had to stop noticing some strange behavior with one of the rocket engine controllers. After implementing some design changes, Rocket Lab is ready to try again. The company has a launch window that extends from this evening, from November 10th to November 19th, and has the option of starting each day between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am ET.
Getting on this flight is a handful of small satellites from Spire Global, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Fleet Space Technologies and Irvine CubeSat STEM Program, and some of these probes are the size of a shoebox. This is because the main goal of Rocket Lab is the launch of small satellites. The company's vehicle, Electron, is about 56 feet tall and is able to place between 330 and nearly 500 pounds in low orbits above the Earth. This is perfect for satellite operators who focus on making their spaceships smaller rather than the size of a school bus.
Until now, Rocket Lab has always reached an orbit only once. He conducted two test flights before this mission, both reached space. However, the first mission failed to reach the orbit due to a technical problem with the communication equipment on the ground. The second arrived in orbit and deployed four satellites successfully. If this mission is good, then Rocket Lab can boast of having put in orbit 11 probes.
And as soon as this flight is over, Rocket Lab has another on its way. The company aims to launch a mission for NASA this December, called ELaNa XIX, which will put 11 small research satellites into orbit. The company also claimed to have a full manifest, and Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said the goal is to make 16 flights in the next year.
But first, it's time for business to finally fly. Rocket Lab plans to livestream the launch once a time for takeoff is set. Follow the company's twitter for updates on the mission and double check here to see the mission live.