РН Electron от новозеландской Rocket Lab

Автор Тангаж, 05.03.2015 17:53:41

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Rocket Lab Is on Track to Major League

ЦитироватьRocket Lab raised capital from Bessemer Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures and K1W1 to complete the Electron launch system and begin commercial operations as early as 2016


On March 2, 2015, Rocket Lab announced completion of Series B financing round, led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) with full participation from existing investors Khosla Ventures and K1W1 investment funds. In addition, Lockheed Martin committed to make a strategic investment in Rocket Lab to support the exploration of future aerospace technologies. The company will use the funding to complete the Electron launch system and plans to begin operations as a commercial launch provider as early as 2016.

Electron small-class launch vehicle, capable of sending up to 110 kg of payload into a sun-synchronous orbit for near $5 million, was officially unveiled during a dedicated VIP-event in July 2014. First of two rocket stages will be powered by 9 regeneratively cooled LOx/Kerosene Rutherford engines, producing each 13.3 kN of thrust at lift-off. The engine is considered as one the most advanced in the world, and comprises a solid technological strength for the company.

History of the company goes back to 2007, when Peter Beck established Rocket Lab as a center for advanced space programs in Auckland, New Zealand. In 2009 it successfully launched Ātea-1 (Māori for 'space') suborbital sounding rocket – 6 m long and 60 kg vehicle designed to carry a 2 kg payload to an altitude of 120 km. Since then this startup developed and launched more than 80 rockets and worked with customers including Lockheed Martin, DARPA and Aerojet Rocketdyne.


In December 2010 Rocket Lab was awarded a US contract from the Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS) to study low-cost space launcher to place small satellites into orbit. As it is said in the company's statement, "Rocket Lab was founded on the belief that small payloads require dedicated small launch vehicles and the flexibility not currently offered by traditional rocket systems".

Based on this idea of SmallSats launcher, Rocket Lab was awarded New Zealand's government $25 million grant, and raised undisclosed amount of money from Khosla Ventures and K1W1 venture capital companies in Series A investment round. By now the company says it received commitments from the customers for at least 30 first launches, which is, simply multiplying, amounted to near $150 million.

Currently Rocket Lab is in process of development and tests of Electron's components, searching for a launch site (among other, Cape Canaveral is under evaluation) and, as a sequence, staff expanding. As for today, the company has near 50 employees, most of which based in Auckland office, and actively recruiting more engineers and managers (25 open positions at the website).

Rocket Lab has audacious plans to conduct 100 launches per year and it seems like investors believe Peter Beck and his business model. According to newly released research of Euroconsult titled Prospects for the Small Satellite Market, a total of 510 SmallSats are to be launched in the next five years. The market value of these future SmallSats is estimated at $7.4 billion (at 2014 prices) to develop and launch all of them.

SpaceDigest has even more promising forecast for SmallSat market. According to our 2014 Year in Spaceflight Review, a total number of CubeSats (not including satellites of 10-100 kg class), launched over the past three years, has risen from 23 in 2012 to 131 in 2014. As for 2015 and on, we expect launches of up to 200 CubeSats per year.


Interesting to note that Peter Beck has no ambitions of larger launch vehicle, or human-rated spaceflights, he believes only in SmallSat market opportunities. What may prevent him from realization of plans? Two factors seem to be important to be considered. The first one is enormous competition from developers of traditional launch vehicles (Firefly Space Systems, Mishaal Aerospace, etc.), air-launched systems (Swiss Space Systems, Generetion Orbit, Virgin Galactic, XCOR, etc.), balloon-based systems (Zero2Infinity).

Controversial as it may sound, the other factor is launch cost. Dividing $5 million launch price into 110 kg of payload, we get the ratio of $45,500 per kilogram. For example, Spaceflight Inc. charges $50k-$60k per kg for CubeSats and $35k-$40k per kg for small satellites to be launched as a secondary payload. What would you choose if you have a 100 kg satellite?

Anyway, raising at least $100 million in total (by our estimations) from venture funds, governmental and private companies, Rocket Lab is becoming a space market player with serious ambitions that are supported not only by great idea and strong belief in SmallSats, but also by achieved technological level, qualified personnel and necessary capital. And as soon as it is so, Peter Beck and his team seem to be on the right track.


Что-то этих ракет для нано спутников в последнее время много развелось

Дмитрий В.

ЦитироватьАнтон пишет:
Что-то этих ракет для нано спутников в последнее время много развелось
Где? Ни одна не летает.
Lingua latina non penis canina
StarShip - аналоговнет!



турбонасосы работают от аккумуляторов? фигассе!




By Loren Grush Posted Yesterday at 9:00pm


The Rutherford Engine

Rocket Lab

Nothing demonstrates engineering prowess and technical knowhow quite like rocket science. There's also nothing quite as expensive either. To launch even a lightweight rocket into space, the cost is easily upwards of $100 million--and that mostly has to do with the complexity of the engine's hardware.
"If you look at a launch vehicle and where the bulk of the cost derives from, you quickly arrive at the rocket engine," Peter Beck, CEO of New Zealand-based private spaceflight company Rocket Lab, tells Popular Science. "It's really difficult to build a low-cost rocket engine, and one you can produce in large numbers."
To combat the exorbitant costs of space travel, Rocket Lab is reshaping both the way rocket engines are manufactured and the way they function. Today at the Space Symposium in Colorado, the company unveiled its brand-new engine, named Rutherford--the first-ever battery-powered rocket engine. The design, made almost entirely of 3D-printed parts, will be used on Rocket Lab's Electron orbital launch vehicle, which will get its first test spin later this year.
"The program is about reducing cost and increasing launch frequency to create a solid space infrastructure"
Rocket engines today more or less follow the same formula. Liquid fuel and a liquid oxidizer combine within a combustion chamber and ignite. Ultimately, it's this combustion that thrusts the rocket forward. However, feeding the propellants into the chamber is a complicated process, requiring separate turbopumps to transport the liquids at super-high speeds into a high-pressure area. Typically, another engine is needed just to operate these pumps, requiring extra hardware and additional fuel.
But with Rutherford, the engine's turbopumps get a much more condensed energy source. Instead of running on liquid propellant, the pumps are powered by electric motors with lithium polymer batteries. This eliminates the need for extra spaghetti tubes and valves, which add weight to the engine and are frequently the source of engine failure. The electric pumps then easily combine the oxygen and hydrocarbon fuel into the combustion chamber.
"It's really only the advancement in battery technology that has enabled us to go to electric turbopumps," Beck says. "Even three or four years ago, the technology wouldn't have been sufficient. But there have been enormous advances in a short time period, and now the electric motor is about 95 percent efficient, versus the 60 percent efficiency of the gas motor."

Rutherford Test Cell Fire

Rocket Lab

The idea of electric propulsion is nothing new; the most notable kinds of electric engines include ion thrusters, which propel rockets by accelerating ions. Such an engine is currently being used on the Dawn mission to the dwarf planet Ceres. However, Rutherford is the first to incorporate battery power in its engine.
If that wasn't unique enough, Rutherford is also produced via electron beam melting, an advanced form of 3D printing. Its engine chamber, injector, turbopumps, and main propellant valves are all printed and assembled into a lightweight shape.
The Rutherford engine will be the main propulsion source for Rocket Lab's Electron vehicle, which the company hopes to use as a low-cost method for launching satellites and other small payloads of up to 220 pounds into space. They estimate that their rocket, which is 65 feet long and 3 feet wide, will only cost about $4.9 million for each liftoff. As the nation closely watches SpaceX's attempts to bring down the cost of spaceflight by reusing its rockets, Rocket Lab hopes this new design will also alleviate some of the financial burden that comes with space travel.
"The program is about reducing cost and increasing launch frequency to create a solid space infrastructure," says Beck. And the more communication satellite constellations circulating our planet, the closer we get to a more connected world.


Rocket Lab picks launch pad site

ЦитироватьNew Zealand firm Rocket Lab plans to launch its battery powered rockets fr om Birdlings Flat in Canterbury.

The company has lodged resource consent applications to build a launch pad - about half the size of a tennis court - and hopes to launch a test vehicle late this year.

The company's chief executive, Peter Beck said the area met all the firm's requirements; a sparse population, a launch path over the ocean and proximity to a city wh ere the 18m tall Electron Rockets can be built.


And there have been rockets launched before from Birdlings Flat about 44km southeast of Christchurch.

In 1963 an imported rocket was launched to a height of about 75km to conduct upper atmospheric research in a joint venture between Canterbury University's physics department and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

That spent about 2 1/2 minutes airborne and landed in the sea and the university continues to monitor space from the area.

Beck said his firm was going through the process of complying with all environmental requirements and consulting affected parties before building what he said was a low impact operation.

''We're not moving in with bulldozers and building Cape Canaveral out there,'' he said.

Earlier this year it announced it would do away with expensive and complex gas generators and instead use small high-performance electric motors and lithium polymer batteries to drive its turbo pumps. The engine within the carbon fibre launch vehicle will also incorporate parts made by 3D printers to cut costs and speed up the manufacturing process.

The Electron would launch satellites for about $7.3 million, less than a tenth of the cost of other companies.

Beck said the firm was looking for suitable space in Christchurch to assemble the launch vehicles and this would provide jobs in the city. It had conducted a lengthy search throughout country looking for a suitable launch site.



ЦитироватьТангаж пишет:
Rocket Lab picks launch pad site 

ух ты, микро Falcon 9


Очень интересное решение. Правда никаких цифр они не написали. Ни емкости аккумуляторов, ни мощности электропривода, ни давления в горшке, ни УИ.


Кстати, беглая прикидка дает мю ПН в   0.8%  Если посчитать объем ракеты и принять плотность 1000 км/м3.


ЦитироватьRocket Lab plans for New Zealand launch base       
Posted on July 9, 2015 by Stephen Clark

Artist's concept of Rocket Lab's Electron launcher. Credit: Rocket Lab
The chief executive of Rocket Lab, a venture capital-backed space firm set up to provide dedicated launch services for microsatellites, says the company is on track to complete construction of a new orbital launch site on New Zealand's South Island by the end of 2015.
The commercial launch base will be on Kaitorete Spit, an east-facing oceanfront site about 20 miles south of Christchurch, giving Rocket Lab's Electron booster access to orbits with inclinations ranging fr om 45 degrees to sun-synchronous, according to Peter Beck, the company's CEO.
Rocket Lab plans to build a launch pad, rocket integration building, fuel tanks and support facilities at the uninhabited site.
The remoteness of Kaitorete Spit — it is near few busy shipping and air traffic corridors — and the wide access to a variety of orbits were the location's biggest selling points, Beck said.
Based in Los Angeles but with production and launch facilities in New Zealand, Rocket Lab is one of several companies targeting low-cost delivery of small satellites into orbit, giving modest operators a dedicated ride into space instead of putting their spacecraft on bigger rockets as secondary passengers, wh ere they are often left to the whims of large companies and government customers.
Beck said the company plans a series of three test launches of Rocket Lab's Electron rocket beginning as soon as late 2015 and stretching into next year. Rocket Lab already has more than 30 customers signed up for Electron launches, Beck told Spaceflight Now in a July 1 interview, but he declined to name them.

Artist's concept of Rocket Lab's Electron launch site at Kiatorete Spit, New Zealand. Credit: Rocket Lab
Fueled by a mixture of liquid oxygen and kerosene, the two-stage Electron can put a 100 kilogram (220-pound) satellite into orbit 500 kilometers (310 miles) above Earth, according to Rocket Lab's website.
Beck said the rocket is about 1 meter (3.3 feet) in diameter and stands 20 meters (66 feet) tall. The booster is built around the Rutherford engine, which is driven by electric motors instead of gas generators.
With its major components fabricated in a 3D printer, the Rutherford engine will power both stages of the Electron. Nine Rutherford powerplants will be on the first stage, producing more than 140,000 pounds of thrust. One 5,000-pound thrust Rutherford engine will be on the second stage.
Hardware for the first Electron test flight is in production and undergoing testing, according to Beck.
Rocket Lab hopes to launch the rocket at $4.9 million per flight, with the ability to fly it once per week. According to Beck, the company elected to design an expendable rocket after deciding a reusable booster would be too expensive to refurbish.
The Electron rocket is geared for the commercial market, but Beck said Rocket Lab planned to respond to a NASA request for proposals released in June soliciting bids to launch up to 60 kilograms — 132 pounds — of CubeSats in one or two launches by April 15, 2018.
Rocket Lab is looking at other launch sites in the United States to meet U.S. launch demand, Beck said.
Rocket Lab is backed by venture capital shops from Silicon Valley and New Zealand, including firms which led investment in Skybox Imaging, a growing Earth observation satellite company later acquired by Google.
Lockheed Martin will also make a strategic investment in Rocket Lab, the company announced in March.
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"

Петр Зайцев

Гарантирую, что если они реально начнут строить, то от газохода на картинке они откажутся как только станет изветно, сколько стоят землеройные работы. Причем то, что мне это известно, а им - нет, говорит о низкой степени серьезности у автора этого рендера, или о степени проработанности проекта СК.

Я уж не говорю, что корейская система с накатом на стационарный подъемник - тоже гигантомания. Видели такое у других, решили и себе забацать как у больших. Можно подумать они Н-1 запускают.


Почему корейская? Мне вот Протон сразу в голову пришел.


Rocket Lab Booking Smallsat Launches Online

LOGAN, Utah — Rocket Lab, a US-New Zealand company developing a small launch vehicle, has started booking payload slots on its upcoming launches online, an effort it says that has already resulted in sales.

 The ordering system, available on the company's website, allows customers to purchase slots for one-unit or three-unit cubesats on future launches of its Electron small launch vehicle. Prices range from $70,000 to $80,000 for a one-unit cubesat and $200,000 to $250,000 for a three-unit cubesat, for launches starting in the third quarter of 2016 and extending into 2019.

 "In addition to affordable and frequent launch, making space accessible means giving customers information about what they can launch, when they can launch it, and how much it's going to cost," said Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, in an Aug. 10 statement. "Previously, this information has been widely difficult to access and the booking process was often cumbersome – now you can do this on your phone."

 Company officials at the Conference on Small Satellites here said Aug. 12 that their online booking system, which started Aug. 10, had already generated some orders. The company, though, did not offer specifics on the number of sales and for what planned launches.
 Electron is designed to place payloads of up to 150 kilograms into a 500-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit. Development of the launch vehicle remains on schedule for a first launch by the end of the year, Beck said in an interview here Aug. 12.

 Initial launches of Electron are planned for a site in New Zealand the company announced in July. The company also signed an agreement with NASA in July to explore launches from NASA-operated launch facilities in the US Beck said that the company is considering a number of options for a US site, including the new Launch Complex 39C at the Kennedy Space Center, which is designed specifically for small launch vehicles.
Я зуб даю за то что в первом пуске Ангары с Восточного полетит ГВМ Пингвина. © Старый
Если болит сердце за народные деньги - можно пойти в депутаты. © Neru - Старому


прям маскофилия какая то


ЦитироватьПетр Зайцев пишет:
арантирую, что если они реально начнут строить, то от газохода на картинке они откажутся как только станет изветно, сколько стоят землеройные работы.
День работы экскаватора?
Летать в космос необходимо. Жить - не необходимо.


ЦитироватьАлександр Ч. пишет:
ЦитироватьBob Richards ‏@Bob_Richards 18 ч.18 часов назад
Cool pic of the @rocketlabusa Electron 2nd stage with #3Dprinted rocket engine. @MoonEx @glxp

"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"


Знать бы параметры электропривода и батарейки.


Energy-buran пишет:
    Знать бы параметры электропривода и батарейки.


Из переписки с комментаторами 250 кГ масса, 41 кВатт мощность батареи. Эквивалент - 164 Ватт/кг.
(За три минуты выделится энергия 41000 * 3*60=7380000 ватт*секунда = 7,38 Мегаджоулей)

Ориентировочно, Используемое напряжение 500 Вольт.
В турбине расходуется 37 кВатт без охлаждения, 3 минуты.
Для сравнения в самом мощном пылесосе СССР "Вихрь" используется 3 кВаттный электродвигатель.
Потребляемый ток около 83 Ампер. (здесь большой вопрос - диаметр обмотки должен быть  около 2...3 мм)

Авионика – 8,6 кг.

Для сравнения можно вспомнить, что cовременные конструкции с вакуумной камерой вращения
 и магнитным подвесом супермаховика из кевларового волокна обеспечивают плотность
 запасённой энергии более 5 МДж/кг.
Из http://khd2.narod.ru/gratis/accumul.htm
Т.е.  гироскопический накопитель может отдать  при 200 кГ маховика энергии в 5000000 дж * 200 = 10**8 джоулей = 100 Мегаджоулей.
Даже при 10% КПД это лучше, чем в электробатарейке (Хотя остается вопрос о количестве оборотов в минуту).



ЦитироватьRocket Lab plans Electron test launches this year
by Jeff Foust — April 14, 2016
Rocket Lab performs a test firing of the second stage of its Electron rocket as it prepares to begin test flights later this year. Credit: Rocket Lab  
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The successful qualification of the second stage of Rocket Lab's Electron rocket keeps the small launch vehicle on track to carry out a series of test flights later this year, the company announced April 13.
Rocket Lab said it had completed qualification testing of the second stage, powered by the company's Rutherford engine, clearing it for flight. The company will soon begin qualification tests of the vehicle's first stage, which uses nine Rutherford engines.
In an interview during the 32nd Space Symposium here April 13, Rocket Lab Chief Executive Peter Beck said the company remains on schedule to begin test flights of Electron from the company's launch site on New Zealand's North Island starting around the middle of this year.
"We have a minimum campaign of three test flights," he said. "We'll do the test flights and, if we have some anomalies, we'll keep rolling them out." Those test flights will carry instrumentation but no satellite payloads, he said.
The company is completing construction of its launch site, which Beck said should be ready by the end of May. Rocket Lab had announced last year it planned to develop a launch site on New Zealand's South Island, near the city of Christchurch. However, Beck said difficulty in getting environmental approvals led them to shift their plans to the new location.
The new site, located on the remote Mahia Peninsula, does allow Rocket Lab to launch to a wider range of orbits than it could from its original site. "We get from sun-synchronous orbit to 38 degrees inclination out of that site," he said. That is important, he said, since the company is hearing from potential customers who want to go to a variety of orbits.
"Traditionally the smallsat guys would want to go to sun-synchronous because there's a lot of rides there if you're ridesharing," he said. "But when you given them the opportunity to choose their orbital plane, they want to go to all sorts of planes, which is very interesting."
The new launch site has received its local environmental approvals, Beck said. Rocket Lab, with its headquarters in the United States but with most of its staff in New Zealand, is working with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration for a spaceport license for the site, as well as a commercial launch license for Electron. Both U.S. and New Zealand authorities are working together on issues like clearing airspace for launches, he added.
If the Electron test program is successful, Rocket Lab plans to start commercial launches in early 2017. Beck said the company is planning one launch a month through 2018, with most of those launches already sold. That includes a launch NASA awarded to Rocket Lab in October 2015 under its Venture Class Launch Services program, which Beck said is currently scheduled for July 2017.
"We really have to make that schedule, because we have a lot of customers now that we need to fly," he said. "So we can't have that test program roll out too long."
Beck also hinted that Rocket Lab has plans to expand in the U.S. The company currently has more than 100 employees, primarily in New Zealand, and is hiring about two people a week, but is running into growth issues. "There are challenges with not being able to scale fast enough in New Zealand," he said. "We need to be able to scale much faster."
"Growth in the U.S. is a big focus for us," he said, adding that the company planned announcements in the next several weeks about some related initiatives in the United States.
"Были когда-то и мы рысаками!!!"