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50 votes
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What was ejected from RocketLab's Electron launch vehicle at T+6:25 during stage two burn?

I’ve continued to do a bit of research on this, and what we’re seeing falling away are two of the lithium-ion battery packs that power the Rutherford engine turbopumps. The Rutherford engine is ...
marked-down's user avatar
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32 votes
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What is "anti-geysering" and why would you turn it off 70 seconds before launch?

Partial answer to What is "anti-geysering"... tl;dr Anti-geysering systems are intended to stop geysering, which is a phenomenon that can occur in long vertical pipes of cryogenic fluid ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
28 votes
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Rocket flywheel instead of battery/generator (crazy idea)?

A flywheel is so efficient because it is big and heavy, both of which you don't want to add to a spacecraft. As for spinning an existing component, the only parts of a rocket that really have any ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
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18 votes
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What is efficiency improvement in Rutherford rocket engine?

This claim of "efficiency" is factually accurate but nearly meaningless as a measure of a rocket's performance. It's similar to pointing out that a car has high-efficiency LED headlights. That's great ...
Kengineer's user avatar
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12 votes

Rocket flywheel instead of battery/generator (crazy idea)?

In principle, this should be possible. The question is, is it practical? An example flywheel used in car racing (i.e. a high-performance, cost-no-object application) weighs 18 kg and stores 400 kJ = ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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11 votes

Is it possible to develop a small orbital rocket, like RocketLab's Electron, for a weapons delivery system?

You're quite right that 150kg is unlikely to be the final maximum payload for Electron: SpaceX's Falcon 1 was almost immediately uprated with the addition of a Merlin-1C engine, and was nominally ...
marked-down's user avatar
  • 8,951
11 votes
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Debris breaking away from Electron rocket

This is ice breaking away from the vehicle due to vibration, acceleration and aerodynamic forces. The Electron uses cryogenic liquid oxygen and kerosene as its oxidiser and propellant. The low ...
Jack's user avatar
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10 votes
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What are the two very large "blue" cylinders attaching to the combustion chamber of each Rutherford Engine?

The blue cylinders contain electric motors that are used to vector the engine assembly. This could be either a linear motor or a conventional motor driving e.g. a thread screw. The pumps and the ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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8 votes
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Why does Rocket Lab plan to deploy first, circularize later?

Spaceflight Now uses the word 'deploy' in an unusual sense. We normally expect it to mean 'separate the payload from the rocket', but here they mean 'separate the combination of kickstage and payloads ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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6 votes

Are the ejected first stage Electron rocket batteries really incinerated?

The question turns out to be a bit misguided as the first stage batteries are not ejected during flight; however, it can still be answered no. Spaceflight 101's quality can be mediocre at times. I ...
BrendanLuke15's user avatar
5 votes
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Why does the Electron rocket throw sparks; especially at SECO?

Tim Dodd, the Everyday Astronaut, just uploaded an interview with Peter Beck from Rocket Lab where he asked exactly this question. His answer was that soot build up at the injector and breaks lose ...
Christoph's user avatar
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5 votes
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Air-launching an Electron-like LOX-based rocket from a plane; technical challenges?

A mostly un referenced list would include: Needing to design rocket structure to bear load horizontally pre launch as well as vertically under thrust. Classic rocket design supports the rocket ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
4 votes
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Which pipeline is this, found outside the launch vehicle?

This is a raceway which houses wiring and plumbing for the systems since you can't run them through the tanks as the walls are so thin, the Falcon 9 has this as well.
Veer Chandra's user avatar
4 votes

What is the "recovery" helicopter for the Electron booster carrying?

It is carrying a mock Electron first stage used to test recovery operations. I believe that image was taken from a ~March 2020 drop and catch test. Here is a Rocket Lab video of that test (note the ...
BrendanLuke15's user avatar
4 votes

Is it coincidence that the Electron has very similar dimensions to the Pegasus?

The design constraints for air launch are more about the first stage being able to light while horizontal (no fuel sloshing away from intakes), and the structural additions to support being hung fully ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
4 votes
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How does the camera make the exhaust of the Electron's RP-1/LOX exhaust transparent?

In this image of a Falcon 9 takeoff (CRS-14), you can see some transparency in the exhaust of the (much larger) Merlin 1D: I can make out the rear half of the engine bells through the exhaust (this ...
Hobbes's user avatar
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4 votes

Rocket flywheel instead of battery/generator (crazy idea)?

The other answerers have failed to do their research correctly. NASA and China are both researching this. The idea is it helps increase the life of the battery on board since there are less charge ...
UKMonkey's user avatar
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4 votes
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Could OneWeb's satellites be launched on Electron rockets?

tl;dr: According to currently published numbers, No, not at present, but... The Wikipedia article section OneWeb satellite constellation; Design characteristics tells us: The satellites in the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
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Could the Electron launch a cubesat to Mars

Updating this answer in light of this paper released by Rocketlab 3 months ago for the Decadal survey. And it has a lot on the deep space capabilities of Electron + Photon, not just Venus and Mars. ...
Barry Jenakuns's user avatar
3 votes
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How is fuel distributed in multi engine rocket stages?

Partial answer (for Centaur and Saturn 1-B) The H2 line emerges from the boost pump, which is mounted at one side of the base of the H2 tank. The line then wraps around the O2 tank and splits near ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
3 votes
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All dressed up and no place to go; who will be Stratolauncher's aircraft-launched rocket?

They're back to their old plan of launching Pegasus XL. In a statement to SpaceNews, a company spokesman said that the company was ending work on its own family of launch vehicles and would instead ...
Hobbes's user avatar
  • 128k
3 votes
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Payloads and orbits Virgin Galactic's Launcher 1 can provide, comparison to Electron?

According to Virgin Orbit's Service Guide: Up to 300 kg / 661 lbm to 500 km / 270 nmi Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) Up to 500 kg / 1100 lbm to 230 km / 124 nmi circular 0 degree inclination Low ...
Jack's user avatar
  • 9,966
3 votes

What is the mass of the Electron rocket's battery pack?

Apparently the whole engine weighs 35kg so 35Kg-20Kg = 15kg. Though the battery is for all engines so 135Kg. Based on those numbers I'm sure it's not a standard rechargeable lithium cell. It would be ...
Slartibartfast's user avatar
3 votes
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Why did the "Running out of Toes" mission fail?

From a Rocket Lab's press release (emphasis added): The review concluded that an issue occurred within the second stage engine igniter system almost three minutes and 20 seconds into the flight. This ...
BrendanLuke15's user avatar
3 votes

Were Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket engines damaged on impact?

Unlikely. Rocket Lab has successfully re-fired at least one engine from this flight, requiring minimal re-furbishing. I do not have specific sources to say that all of the engines were in a condition ...
Infinite_Maelstrom's user avatar
3 votes
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Why didn't Electron's first stage go "There and Back Again"?

Was this intentional? Yes, it was, as is explained in the same video you linked to [bold italic emphasis mine]: At his discretion the pilot offloaded the stage for a successful splashdown where it ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
2 votes
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What is Rocket Lab Electron's dry mass?

According to Rocket Lab's user guide, the kick stage weighs 40 kg dry and the fairing weighs 44 kg, and the second stage contains 2000 kg of fuel. Then I found this reddit post describing parameters ...
WarpPrime's user avatar
  • 3,125
2 votes

Does electric fuel pumping scale well for rockets?

No. First of all, I don't think electron is at a "sweet spot". In fact, I'd guess that the electric system results in--at best--a neutral result in terms of mass budget, but more likely, a ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
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2 votes
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How much payload capacity is available for a Rocketlab Photon interplanetary mission to Venus?

It turns out the answer is 15 kg to the atmosphere of Venus, with a 3 kg payload, as is what they are planning. This likely adds in the ability of the Photon bus to act as a relay and to release the ...
PearsonArtPhoto's user avatar
  • 121k
1 vote

Electron rocket holding & releasing mechanism

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 ...
Ruben's user avatar
  • 1,154

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