Today’s launch from Rocket Lab, “The Owl Spreads Its Wings” was as low-key as a rocket going into orbit can be, but it also marked several milestones for the growing space company: 30 launches and 150 satellites carried into space.
The company’s first trip to orbit it was in january 2018, technically the Electron’s second test flight, but the first successful payload delivery into space. This was after more than 10 years of design, engineering and manufacturing since the company was founded in 2006.
It then had a continuous run of 18 launches, but on the 20th it had an anomaly and lost the payload and the vehicle. But as founder and CEO Peter Beck told me shortly afterward, “within seconds of realizing we had an anomaly on our hands, the team was already working on it.” And they were clear to fly a month later.
Since then, the company’s ambitions have only grown with plans to design spaceships, trip to venusand a a bigger, better launch vehicle called the Neutron which will compete with Rocket Lab’s larger peers. Of course, as Beck puts it, i.ehis was the whole plan from the beginning — they just had to fire first.
2022 saw only successes, including the first attempt to capture a falling first stage by helicopter. They’ll try this again before the end of the year, but you can relive the nail-biting moment here:
Today’s launch (well…tomorrow’s, technically, since they’re in New Zealand) was for Japanese company Synspective, which took over the entire vehicle to deliver its StriX-1 satellite to a 563-kilometer circular orbit. (Rocket laboratory also delivered two other StriX satellites in February this year and December 2020)
We expect to hear more about Rocket Lab’s ambitions when Beck talks to TechCrunch in our TC Sessions: Space event in December.