Rocket Lab offers overnight expedition to space – TechCrunch
Not so long ago, orbital launches required years of planning, months of testing and careful preparation. But Rocket Lab’s new program will allow customers to show up at the launch site with their payload in the trunk and launch it into orbit 24 hours later. Next day premium rates will be apply, of course.
The Reactive Space Program is actually a bit more formal than that, but the very idea of going from zero to launch in a day or less is pretty impressive.
“Reactive launch capability has been built into the design of Electron and our launch sites since day one, and we have made strategic investments in vertical spacecraft manufacturing to enable this,” said the founder. and CEO of Rocket Lab, Peter Beck. And as the release states: “Upon arrival at the launch site, payload integration, encapsulation and launch can be completed in as little as 24 hours.”
Your company will of course need to be part of the program and collaborate with Rocket Lab upstream on the exact specifications, orbit and other variables needed for any successful launch. So while you can’t just show up to the launch complex with a few million dollars and a satellite, you can give them all the relevant details and tell them you could show up like this within the next six months.
Although the company has made some very quick turnarounds in the past and launched on fairly short notice for clients like the National Reconnaissance Office, it has yet to accomplish this lightning-fast turnaround, but the company is confident that it will. is possible. Indeed, as Beck points out, this has been one of the abilities he’s mostly aspired to from the start. And a company representative told me that customers have repeatedly requested this type of ultra-short turnaround option.
Naturally, the payload is also unlikely to arrive in the back of a pickup truck – Rocket Lab emphasizes its ability to build, maintain and otherwise operate or prepare satellites and support systems in its own facilities. It’s more likely that if you’re part of this new program, your satellite will be waiting in a clean room somewhere in New Zealand (or from December, in Virginia) while you iron the last of its code or struggle against red tape.
Then, when you get the all clear, you’ll call Peter and he’ll put your bird into orbit before the sun goes down tomorrow. They might even catch the first step on the way down.