Rocket Lab, Company from New Zealand announced about finishing last tests before planned for 2017 first flight of their Electron. This small launch vehicle designed for commercial missions covering delivering Cubesat satellites to Sun-synchronous orbit.
Rocket Lab already has delivered Electron to their Launch Complex 1 placed at Mahia Peninsula. Rocket will be checked and tested again to ensure, that everything is fine and all systems are in good condition after rocket was transported to Complex on special towed platform.
Electron was designed as two-stage rocket fueled with RP-1/LOX propellant. The rocket stages have identical diameter of 1.2 m and are equipped with Rutherford engines with electric fuel pumps. Construction of the rocket is mainly based on aluminium and carbon fiber elements manufactured with wide utilization of modern technologies like 3D printing. Rocket weighs 10.5 t with total length including fairing of 17 m. First stage is equipped with 9 Rutherford engines generating total thrust of 152 kN. Second stage is equipped with single Rutherford engine able to give 22 kN of thrust.
Electron will be able to deliver 150 kg to 150 km SSO orbit for $4.9 million. Designated launch sites are Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand and Launch Complex 39C at Kennedy Space center, Florida, USA.
This will be test both for Electron and for Launch Complex 1 which was opened on September 26, 2016. It will be first launch performed from this launch site.