A Rocket Lab Electron Launcher launches on January 20, 2018 from New Zealand for Booster's second spaceflight, a successful demonstration mission called Still Testing. The first commercial electron mission called It & # 39; s Business Time is due to start on November 10, 2018.
Picture credits: Rocket Lab
The Rocket Lab start-up launcher will launch its first full-scale commercial mission on Saturday night (November 10), and you can follow the milestone launch live.
Rocket Lab's 17-meter-high Electron Booster is scheduled to leave the launch pad at 22:00 on Saturday at the company's New Zealand launch pad. EST (3:00 GMT and 4:00 pm New Zealand local time on 11th November) on a mission called "It's Business Time". You can follow the action live on Space.com, courtesy of Rocket Lab, or directly through the company's website.
The start window runs Saturday night for 4 hours. If "It & # 39; s Business Time" is delayed, similar 4-hour windows will be open on the following eight nights. [In Photos: Rocket Lab’s Electron Booster for Small Satellites]
If everything goes according to plan, "It's Business Time" will put six small satellites into orbit about 500 kilometers above our planet. These space probes include Spire Global, Tyvak Nano satellite systems, Fleet Space Technologies and Irvine CubeSat's STEM program, said Rocket Lab representatives. The STEM Irvine CubeSat satellite also carries innovative, tiny engines built by Accion Systems for propulsion.
The Electron will also carry a "Drag-Sail" demonstrator that demonstrates technologies that help desorb obsolete satellites faster and more efficiently.
The start on Saturday is the third start for the Electron. The rocket previously flew demonstration missions in May 2017 and in January this year. On this last flight, called "Still Testing", the Electron succeeded in successfully bringing four small satellites into orbit.
The electron may be a small booster, but Rocket Lab believes he can do very big things. The company has set itself the goal of making space travel with Electron more frequent and accessible. Electron can bring up to 500 pounds (227 kilograms) into orbit, which costs about $ 5 million per flight.
Saturday was originally scheduled for April. Rocket Lab repeatedly delayed the launch to resolve a motor failure with the Electron and other issues.
Mike Wall's book "Out There" about finding an extraterrestrial life will be released on November 13 by Grand Central Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall, follow us @Spacedotcom or Facebook. Originally published on Space.com.