stuff that’s hard to do (Rocketlab’s Electron)

Electron is a new small, cheap commercial booster for small satellites
Launched from New Zealand
Cool onboard videos

(What? Why, you have sumpthing better to do for a few minutes? A wise man humors nerds — they can make profitable and deadly things.)

Fixed the time window, so you can actually watch the launch, now.
Also, here’s a fun vid about small launchers, including the Electron.


  1. jlw
    Posted January 21, 2018 at 8:19 am |

    i definitely didn’t have something better to do, but i have a question. it seems to me that at about 20:19 the combustion changes. more light, which implies to me that the oxidizing agent ratio has been changed in the mixture.

    alternately, i am making something out of nothing.

    can you give me a hint as to why the light in the burn increases?

  2. DougM (2017 survivor)
    Posted January 21, 2018 at 9:30 am |

    ^ Dunno, but it may have been related to the pitch maneuver around that time (watch the earth wrt the engine bell). The flickering looks pretty normal, so it might just be more apparent in a smaller engine like this one. Perhaps there’s also a lighting or shadowing effect. Dunno. I’d need to look at squiggly lines on charts. That’s the kind of question that gets massaged during post-launch analysis.

    Electron’s are kerosene/liquid-oxygen engines, but my detailed experience was with hypergolic engines (hydrazine/acid), which are significantly different.

    Maybe you could ask Rocketlab.
    They must have a PR guy who does that.
    Lemme know what they say.

    Good eye.
    Me? I mainly just look for the *kaboom*

  3. Lord of the Fleas
    Posted January 21, 2018 at 9:37 am |

    Really cool how it reaches max Q at 16:10, just as the exhaust trail becomes visible, and by 16:15 that exhaust trail has turned into a corkscrew.

    Lotsa wind shear up there.

  4. jlw
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 7:22 am |

    a little summary of the state of rocketry from the BBC

  5. DougM (2017 survivor)
    Posted January 23, 2018 at 11:46 am |

    ^ Thanks!
    Yeah, should be a good year for rocketporn.