May 15, 2017 02:18 PM EDT
It is just one week away from the launch by Rocket Lab on May 21 of it 10-day window for the test launch. The launch of the orbital rocket from a private launch facility is a first. The facility, Launch Complex 1, is on the North Island in New Zealand.
The facility is ready to begin test firing actual launches from Launch Complex 1. Once the satisfied testing is completed, the facility would start commercial operations, Tech Crunch reported. The 2 PM PT time launch on May 21 kicks off a 10-day attempt window. During the period, Rocket Lab could still abort the launch several times because the purpose is to run tests and not the successful launch of an orbital rocket.
Rocket Lab would be using the 10-day period to collect data that would help ensure future launches would succeed, especially once the facility begins providing commercial services to its clients. Its first client is Spire which would fly a dozen missions.
The initial target of Rocket Lab was to start launching commercially for its clients in late 2016, but delays made the facility push back its timetable. During the 10-day window period, if the orbital rocket would launch successfully, the facility would hold three test launches before it considers holding the maiden test flight of its Electron rocket, The Verge reported. The lab has been developing the Electron since 2013 and testing parts of the vehicle on the ground in 2016.
For the launch, 200 staff of Rocket Lab would track sea, air, and space traffic, Grant Walker, founder and chief executive of Rocket Lab, says. Unlike the very public launches of Elon Musk’s Space X, the launch of Electron would not be live streamed by the facility. However, Rocket Lab would video the event and make the clip available later. There would also be no viewing platform, NBR reports.
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