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article image'It's business time' for Rocket Lab launch on Saturday

By Karen Graham     Nov 9, 2018 in Science
California-based Rocket Lab aims to launch its first fully commercial payload to orbit this weekend after months of delays. The company's Electron rocket will take six satellites from four companies to orbit as early as Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET.
The Electron rocket, nicknamed 'It's Business Time," is set to launch from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on the on the Māhia Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island this weekend. The company has a nine-day launch window with the first chance coming on November 10.
A bit of space trivia for readers - "It's Business Time" got its name in honor of being the first of the company's rockets to carry a full load of paying customers. The staff thinks up the names. “It’s a very serious business,” said CEO Peter Beck. “You’ve got to have some fun along the way.”
On board will be seven payloads, including a demonstration drag sail to practice de-orbiting space junk and a student-led experiment for the city of Irvine’s CubeSat STEM program. The rocket will also be carrying two satellites for Spire’s earth-monitoring constellation, two for Fleet’s space-based smart devices grid, and one for GeoOptics.
 It s Business Time  patch
"It's Business Time" patch
Rocket Lab
The CubeSat was built by high school students from the Irvine, California area and will be sending various measurements and observations back to the students from low earth orbit. IRVINE01, as it is called, is also the first satellite that will have Accion Systems’ electrospray thrust modules, tiny modular things that are highly efficient and perfect for small craft, according to Tech Crunch.
Aboard IRVINE01 is a low-resolution camera that will take pictures of Venus, stars and other celestial objects. Data from these images can be used to calculate distances to stars and determine pointing accuracy and stability of the satellite. If all goes well, IRVINE01 will also be the first CubeSat to directly communicate with high school students. How cool is that?
Irvine CubeSat STEM Program (ICSP) is a project-based learning collaboration between K-12 education ...
Irvine CubeSat STEM Program (ICSP) is a project-based learning collaboration between K-12 education institutions, industry partners, non-profit organizations, and parent volunteers whose primary focus is to teach, train, and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals, while also creating opportunities for underrepresented groups in STEM-related fields.
Irvine CubeSat
The Electron Rocket is small but mighty
At 17 meters (56 feet) tall, the Electron rocket about a quarter the size of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. But that's alright with Rocket Lab because they are looking ahead to the emerging field of small satellites, like CubeSats. Another consideration is that smaller rockets don't cost near as much as a bigger one.
Keep in mind that an Electron costs just $5.7 million, compared to up to $50 million for a Falcon 9 rocket, according to Forbes. Another advantage is that waiting for a ride on a Falcon 9 might be two years, while Rocket Lab is promising to shorten the wait to just six months.
Beck told Forbes, “What we’re looking to do here is build towards the next 100 rockets, not the next one rocket. We’ve always been very bold and not too shy to say that we hope to be launching to space the most often of anybody in the world.”
More about Rocket Lab, It's Business Time, electron rocket, seven payloads, smallsat launcher
 
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