Rocket Lab Challenges SpaceX with Big Rocket
New Zealand's small-rocket specialist will start to challenge SpaceX in the construction and launching of large, reusable rockets.
LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA — This pristine part of New Zealand has been launching small satellites to space for months. The company that owns it, is now upping its game to challenge SpaceX in the making and launching of big, space-bound rockets. Here are the details:
CNBC reports that New Zealand's small-rocket specialist, Rocket Lab, has broken its promise to stick to small, non-reusable rockets. It will now start to challenge SpaceX in the construction and launching of large, reusable rockets.
The company has been launching small rockets from its launch site on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula, using its lightweight rocket, called Electron, to launch small payloads like CubeSats into space.
This Electron rocket was designed to carry only 230 kilograms of cargo to orbit, for roughly 7 million dollars per launch.
Meanwhile, SpaceX's workhorse — the Falcon 9 — can carry 22,7 tons to the same orbit, for about 60 million dollars.
Rocket Lab's stated goal was to try to launch lots of cheap rockets every three days or so, to open up space to a wave of new customers.
With its planned new Neutron rocket, however, Rocket Lab puts itself in much closer competition with SpaceX.
The 40-meter-tall rocket should be able to carry more than 8 tons to orbit. Like the Falcon 9, it would be reusable and able to carry humans.
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