Rocket Lab, a U.S.-New Zealand company developing the Electron small launch vehicle, declared success on its first launch May 25, although the rocket failed to reach orbit.
Wind conditions at the New Zealand launch site subsided, but the company said concerns about static electric charges led them to postpone the launch.
The Air Force expects a replacement for the Delta 4 Heavy rocket will be ready by 2023, with one of several vehicles under development able to take its place.
The company said Sunday that high winds at its New Zealand launch site prevented rolling the rocket out to the pad, pushing back the launch to late Monday.
Arianespace launched a Soyuz rocket May 18 from Europe’s space center in French Guiana, carrying the electrically propelled SES-15 satellite to geostationary transfer orbit.
Spaceflight, a company that arranges launches for small satellites, announced May 17 is it purchasing a launch from Rocket Lab for payloads seeking access to a less common orbit.
SpaceX launched the last of telecom satellite operator Inmarsat’s first-generation Global Xpress satellites May 15 on a mission where SpaceX did not attempt to recover the Falcon 9 rocket’s first stage.
Military could have truly low-cost launch market in five years — if government puts in the effort, experts say
Experts foresee at least four companies with low-cost reusable launch technology.
SpaceX said May 9 that it has successfully test-fired the center core stage of its first Falcon Heavy rocket, a key step towards its long-delayed first launch later this year.
California is expected to approve a regulation, supported by SpaceX, that spells out how the state will determine the amount of income tax launch companies will be required to pay.