This will be Rocket Lab’s second attempt at this test flight called “Still Testing.” The original plan was to launch “Still Testing” in December during a 10-day launch window, but the mission was delayed multiple times because of less-than-ideal weather and technical glitches. The company got close to launching on December 12th, getting all the way to a final countdown. However, the Electron’s engines ignited and then quickly shut off after computers detected that the rocket’s propellant was getting too warm. As a result, the rocket released a short burst of exhaust plumes but remained on the launch pad.
A crucial goal of this second test is to get the Electron to orbit, which the rocket hasn’t done yet. So far, Rocket Lab has only launched the Electron once during a flight test in May, and although the vehicle made it to space, it failed to achieve orbit. The problem was traced back to a glitch in some communication equipment on the ground, provided by a third party. The equipment briefly lost contact with the rocket, prompting it to abort its mission. Rocket Lab claims that the Electron would have reached orbit if the communications blackout hadn’t occurred, and the company says it has fixed the problem so it shouldn’t happen again.
Though this mission is technically a test, the Electron will actually have three small commercial payloads on board: a Dove imaging satellite, made by Planet, and two . . .
Continue here to read the full article published on TheVerge || January 12, 2018 |||