Saturday, December 04, 2021


Well, unveil...

Neutron, the successor to Rocket Lab's Electron was announced in March already, but on 2 DEC the company lifted the veil on the new launch vehicle's revolutionary characteristics:

Neutron will be a medium-lift two-stage launch vehicle, capable of bringing up to 8 tonnes (17,600 lb) in LEO in a reusable configuration (15 tonnes when the first stage is expended). That's quite a jump from Electron's typical payload of around 300 kilograms. Unlike competitor SpaceX's Falcon 9, the 40m tall Neutron will be built from carbon composites, and use LOX and liquid methane propellant for its new Archimedes engine (which will be mainly 3D-printed).

The rocket's revised design features a tapered shape with a maximum diameter of 7 m (23 ft), standing on four fixed landing legs. Rocket Lab abandoned plans for landing Neutron on a floating platform, instead opting for a return-to-launch-site reusability profile instead. There will be no conventional payload fairing to be jettisoned and recovered at sea, but instead the fairing will be integrated into the vehicle and open like the petals of a flower to release the second stage and payload. While the cheap second stage will be lost, the first stage lands back on earth. Neutron will be launched from MARS, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, on Virginia's eastern coast.Rocket Lab is planning for the first launch to take place no earlier than 2024.

One thing is crystal-clear: Space has become Big Business!