Launch vehicles generally include a holding & releasing mechanism so that it will not leave the ground until proper engine function is confirmed and stable and sufficient thrust is achieved.

These mechanisms are described for several other launch vehicles on this site, but here I'd like to ask for some details on how this works specifically for the Electron rocket.

For example is it essentially a smaller version of the Falcon 9's system? They are both two+ stage LOX/RP-1 systems with 9 first-stage engines that operate in parallel, but they differ substantially in size.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It's a good question, I've just modified the wording to better fit the site's style. Welcome to Space! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 3:11

1 Answer 1


It seems like the principles are similar, holding clamp at the bottom for lift-off and one on the top to set it upright. Compare for example this set-up of the Electron at Launch Complex 1 pad A with the set-up of the Falcon 9 at KSC pad 39A.

It also matters which launch pad you compare with ofcourse, Falcon 9 mostly launches from SLC-40, but also from 39A at Kennedy Space Center and pad 4E at Vandenberg Airforce Base. While Rocket lab has Launch Complex 1 with Pad A & B in New Zealand and Launch Complex 2 in the US.

I don't know too much about the Falcon 9 pads, but you can see the four way pins of Electron at Pad A in New Zealand in the picture below. You can clearly see 2 of the 4 way pins, link to picture with wider view of same set-up: Electron at Launch Complex 1 Pad A

I am not 100% on this, but if you look at Electron's bottom there seem to be 4 structural points on which these clamps rest/to which they attach. (Pic taken from rocket lab's site)

Electron Clamping points

The image below is the best I could find of Rocket Labs Launch Complex 2, not sure if it is the same, although you'd expect it to be and it looks very similar. Rocket Lab Launch complex 2

PS: I actually found a stack answer that goes pretty in depth on the Falcon 9 clamps


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