California-based, small sat launcher Rocket Lab released a video Sunday detailing its plan for a resilient space program. Its plan is based on its unique opportunity of having two launch complexes in two different hemispheres.
Rocket Lab’s goal is to provide quick and reliable access to space in the case that satellites that provide national security or other vital services to the public are disrupted. The plan to achieve this goal by having its two, soon to be three, launch pads at a continuous state of readiness.
With its two launch pads in New Zealand and another one at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Rocket Lab estimates it will be able to launch 130 Electrons a year. That’s roughly one every three days. Currently, its quickest turnaround between two successful missions has been 36 days. This was between its first and second operational flights, ”It’s Business Time” and “This One’s For Pickering.”
Rocket Lab has launched a total of 15 Electrons (13 successfully) from its single operational launch pad in New Zealand. Rocket Lab is getting close to launching its first Electron from Virginia by the end of this year. A second launch pad has been under construction next to pad A in New Zealand. You can see in this video that it is nearing completion and all that looks to be missing is the launch mount and arm.
One of its final goals in the video was being able to launch three Electrons simultaneously from different hemisphere. This is something unique only to Rocket Lab. No other launch provider has launch complexes in more than one hemisphere. The only other company with three pads for a single rocket is SpaceX with two in Florida and one in California. If the industry can support around the clock launch readiness, then Rocket Lab could prove to be the top dog in the small sat launcher business.