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Rocket Lab Wants To Be The FedEx Of Space

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Rocket Lab's Electron rocket comes at a price tag that's only a fraction of the $50 million or more it costs to launch a larger rocket. How will that revolutionize the industry and expand who will be able to send satellites into space? Rocket Lab put seven spacecraft in orbit on Saturday with its first commercial launch, as the company grew its lead in the burgeoning small rocket industry. Delayed from this past spring, the "It's Business Time" launch marks the beginning of Rocket Lab's acceleration toward launching at a weekly rate. The rocket builder reached orbit for the first time in January with its final test launch but saw this commercial attempt delayed due to a "motor control" issue with the rocket. "Perfect flight," Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said in a tweet after the launch. "Orbital accuracy was exquisite." Rocket Lab is building small rockets priced at about $5.7 million a launch. The company's Electron rocket is designed to launch spacecraft up to the size of a refrigerator, especially for the premium small satellite part of the rocket market. Small rockets like Electron can save customers months of time getting to orbit but come at a higher cost compared to flying as a "rideshare" on a larger rocket like the SpaceX Falcon 9. "It's Business Time" launched six satellites for Spire, Tyvak, Fleet and the Irvine CubeSat STEM program. The launch also included a spacecraft built by HPS GmbH to demonstrate a new technology to reduce space debris. The launch keeps Rocket Lab – valued at more than $1.2 billion and based in New Zealand and California – at the front of the pack in the small rocket race. Beck estimates there are over 100 companies trying to catch up. But Rocket Lab has another launch scheduled for December, as well as 16 launches planned for 2019. Rocket Lab has a backlog of launches for the next 18 months, Beck said, which is "around a $3 billion pipeline." The factories in New Zealand and California "have been specifically designed to produce one rocket a week," Beck said. Rocket Lab aims to be launching at a weekly rate in 2020. » Subscribe to CNBC: http://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC About CNBC: From 'Wall Street' to 'Main Street' to award winning original documentaries and Reality TV series, CNBC has you covered. Experience special sneak peeks of your favorite shows, exclusive video and more. Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: http://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: http://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: http://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Google+: http://cnb.cx/PlusCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: http://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC #CNBC #RocketLab #SmallRocket This Rocket Unicorn Wants To Be The FedEx Of Space
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Text Comments (84)
MS Productions (1 hour ago)
Does it deorbit itself after it puts the payload into orbit?
Ok man (1 month ago)
Isro: Hold my 🍺 SSLV is coming (2.5M$)
Atipat12 (2 months ago)
Atipat12 (2 months ago)
LiS Wright (2 months ago)
More polluted air.
JPeter (3 months ago)
Thank you for offering English caption!❤️
Grokman (3 months ago)
Nice to see Rīga city zooming out in your video right from one of the biggest tech company clusters in Riga. :D
Shadowsc133 (3 months ago)
All these people worried about space junk cleaning and I can’t even keep my small room cluster free.
Jancee Villamor (3 months ago)
Deliver supply to the moon!
bctopper (3 months ago)
It's awesome how one company (spacex) can inspire so many other companies to innovate and push boundaries also. Same thing could be said about Tesla :D
bbn bb (3 months ago)
TheMoonder (3 months ago)
“FedEx of space” is an misleading headline
iliketrains0pwned (3 months ago)
I think The Expanse was way ahead of them on that one: https://imgur.com/gallery/dVWIXJD
Remix gold (3 months ago)
The more we launch satellite the closer we are to Kessler syndrome. We seriously need to deal with all the junk in space
superbleeder98 (3 months ago)
brb mailing aliens.
The white Nibba (3 months ago)
SpaceX part 2
Axstrix (3 months ago)
4:31 wow....... Nice edit
Cool stuffs (3 months ago)
I thought something fell on it.
Brian Douglas (3 months ago)
Can North Korea launch rockets like that?
Brian Douglas (3 months ago)
So why Trump threaten North Korea
News 4 Star Stuffs (3 months ago)
How like that do you mean? Only this company, Rocket Lab, can launch rockets like this, as they designed it. North Korea has had a handful of launches over the past couple of decades, two of them, one in 2012 and one in 2016 being successful, but they have been aboard the relatively much more simplistic unha rockets, which are much larger (5 or 6 times as massive) as Electron's tiny rockets.
Avinash Poojary (3 months ago)
There is already isro
T Ben (3 months ago)
Now if one such rocket say put 101 Small satellites to orbit. Would that not be cost effective?
T Ben (3 months ago)
+News 4 Star Stuffs Hope all goes well.
News 4 Star Stuffs (3 months ago)
+T Ben I'm not sure how long they take to build apiece, but they are able to deploy them quite rapidly. After the launch in December, there are 11 Electron Rocket launches already scheduled for 2019. The company that makes them, Rocket Lab, claims that the factory they just completed last month in New Zealand will have the capability of building 50 Electron rockets per year! (https://everydayastronaut.com/inside-rocketlab/)
T Ben (3 months ago)
+News 4 Star Stuffs Cool. Just wondering how much time does it take build for research purposes? If it is timely basis it can then be done in the same way we use a train or a bus to commute. ISRO did something similar some time back. If that is a logical move it cam be a new market for ISRO or any other agency to explore.
News 4 Star Stuffs (3 months ago)
That's the idea behind it. 101 may be a bit much, as you would require an awful lot of electronics and mechanical parts to release that many satellites reliably, and the Electron Rocket's maximum payload is only around 200kg... but the next Electron launch in December is scheduled to have 12 mini satellites onboard to deploy.
Alfian Sofakhair (3 months ago)
My own satellite... Now, that's a thing 😉
Fine (3 months ago)
Alfian Sofakhair Gotta be a millionaire
Marvium - Knowledge (3 months ago)
What's that place with gondolas above the road?
Michael Chan (3 months ago)
Marvium - Knowledge Mars
NeEd InPuT (3 months ago)
Space... 😂 Haha...
peter lee (3 months ago)
If they can reuse the rockets, they can grow faster and it's better for the environment.
Jonathon Hindle (3 months ago)
Reusing rockets isn’t magic, please don’t say things you don’t understand
News 4 Star Stuffs (3 months ago)
reusable rockets are actually much more expensive, and prone to failure than expendable rockets. The heaviest component of most rockets is the fuel, so you would have to include far more fuel, to get the fuel into orbit that would be needed to de-orbit, slow the descent enough not to burn up, and then come to a virtual stop to not pancake out on the landing pad when it gets to ground level. Whether it's better for the environment is debatable as well... although you save having to rebuild the rocket casing, the rocket would have to be designed to be much more durable (and hence heavier) to withstand multiple launches, and again there's the issue of the additional fuel for landing, and the additional fuel to get the landing fuel into orbit.
F3ND1MUS (3 months ago)
Costone90 (3 months ago)
they want to be the #2 delivery service of space?
J.R Isidore (3 months ago)
+Adrian Barbuio Rocket Lab doesn't want to compete with SpaceX. They're 1/10th the price at 1/101th the payload. Rocket Lab is where SpaceX was in 2006 with the Falcon 1.
Adrian Barbuio (3 months ago)
You can buy a small spot on an electron rocket right now on their website for $80000. Can you do that with Spacex?
Bruce Joy (3 months ago)
And optimised to serve an entirely different market segment. So long as the market grows they can do very well. Most B2B markets aren't winner takes all. There can be 3 main competitors.
Emma l MASTÜRBÃTÈ WATCH VIDEÒ! (3 months ago)
At least send something better than 3 megapixels. You would think for the cost anyways, it would not matter. My IPad has a 12 megapixel camera and would not be that expensive to have something better than 3.
Cool stuffs (3 months ago)
+Torjus HT i think its put for a reason..not because they cant
Torjus HT (3 months ago)
When it comes to space everything is more difficult then you would think. If something is done one way it's usually for a reason. Small size cube sat's doesn't have room for a large relay antenna to transfer high quality pictures. So you have to find a balance between what you want and what is practical. Since this is just a school project I would guess they were willing to compromise since they won't be spending lots of money.
News 4 Star Stuffs (3 months ago)
It's not so much many megapixels the lens is, but the amount of bandwidth it needs to transmit. The purpose of the rocket is not for sending back detailed pictures so the picture quality was not the highest priority. a 3 megapixel camera takes very adequate quality pics, and only requires 25% as much data-space in the transmission line between the rocket and ground-stations, as compared to a 12 megapixel camera.
Simonair (3 months ago)
Just hope the bfr doesn't become cheaper than those launch prices.
Cool stuffs (3 months ago)
+Alvian Choiri Apriliansyah true
BrokenLifeCycle (3 months ago)
+Alvian Choiri Apriliansyah Even delivery trucks carry many packages, so that's not an entirely accurate analogy. The Electron is more like the food delivery guy who handles only one or a few at a time depending on the demand.
Alvian Choiri Apriliansyah (3 months ago)
+BrokenLifeCycle BFR & Electron clearly have different goal. While Electron will be a delivery truck, BFR will be a transporter to another world (satellite launch is just a bonus)
BrokenLifeCycle (3 months ago)
The problem with BFR is that it requires ridesharing to be viable in the small-sat markets. It's like using a Boeing 747 to move one economy-seat passenger. Not profitable. Airliners want to fill as many seats as possible in a timely manner before they take off in order to cover all the costs and make some profit.
ro pro (3 months ago)
So, Rocket Lab will be responsible for the millions of pieces of space junk that will ultimately prevent us from going to space again.
News 4 Star Stuffs (3 months ago)
+annoyingmoose234 You're right - decently longer than I would have expected, though. Rocket Labs (maker of the Electron rocket) states that the satellites they put into orbit have a planned life of 5-7 years before they decay & burn up into Earth's atmosphere.
annoyingmoose234 (3 months ago)
Also if you're talking about the sats, most of these are is LEO so most likely a decent decay rate
Arun Mani (3 months ago)
They use drag sails
News 4 Star Stuffs (3 months ago)
After releasing their payload, Electron's orbiters use retro-rockets (effectively retro-rockets... they flip around and accelerate in the other direction) and a drag sail to de-orbit, falling back into the atmosphere to burn up.
CR15PY (3 months ago)
Actually their rockets are designed to be able to deorbit them selves
DNY Motorsports (3 months ago)
That's a cheap rocket. There are hyper cars that cost more.
That Dope Dude (3 months ago)
Hyoer? Where is that in india?
Elite Accord (3 months ago)
Why would you not buy a falcon launch
Dylan Semrau (3 months ago)
underimpressed the Falcon 9 can still circularity orbits
underimpressed (3 months ago)
also electron has a kick back stage that circularizes the orbit, falcon hasn't
News 4 Star Stuffs (3 months ago)
Because the Electron rocket costs about $5 million to launch, and the Falcon 9 costs $62 million. The falcon 9 is a much, much larger rocket, designed to get up to 23,000 kg of stuff into low-Earth orbit, whereas the Electron rocket only carries about 200 kg. The Falcon 9 rocket is great for getting large full-sized satellites into orbit, and sending food, water, equipment and supplies to the International Space Station, while the Electron is designed to allow up to a dozen different companies to share the cost of a single launch, and get cubesats and other mini-satellites into orbit for only a few thousand dollars apiece.
Karma's a Bitch (3 months ago)
What does Elon think of this
Brandon Smith (3 months ago)
Elon likely views it neutral to negatively most likely. Unlike Tesla, where Elon states the goal is to electrify the entire automotive industry, the purpose of SpaceX is on the 'X" - exploration. The purpose of SpaceX is Mars, plane and simple. Elon says that it is only a matter of time before an extinction event happens (as it has many times in the past), and it's no gaurentee that when that happens, humans will be able to endure.. So being out there among the stars is the one way to ensure humanities continued existance. The ability to send a tiny payload into Space has no use for SpaceX, that is why they're going in the opposite direction: With BFR. BFR will be able to carry 100 humans to Mars in one trip.
Alexander Gyr (3 months ago)
He thinks it’s great to have more companies joining the industry. Besides that, Rocket Lab is nowhere near to be a competition for SpaceX.
DJZ (3 months ago)
Did she say 3 mega pixels? They sent a flip phone?
Supporter van de Europese Unie (3 months ago)
+Bob Jeff Kiwis*
Bob Jeff (3 months ago)
They should’ve just sent a potato up there.
Christian Dwi Wijaya (3 months ago)
Depending on the purpose. Camera's resolution is not the only one thing that affects photo quality
Petula Griffith (3 months ago)
What regulatory oversight do these companies have internationally? How is it sustainable to have that many objects orbiting that close to our planet? What are the long term effects of defunct or obsoletespace junk orbiting our planet. Who approves these launches, who is liable or held accountable when these rockets reenter the atmosphere involuntarily and causes harm?
Notograptus (3 months ago)
You'll know if a satellite is about to come down.
Petula Griffith (3 months ago)
+Shane Ben thanks that was a thought out and thorough response it answered most of my questions. Cheers
Shane Ben (3 months ago)
There has been a lot of international companies, agencies, and militaries who have looked at the problen of space debris. Currently, you need to be able to deorbit your satellite once it's died, or push it way further out, to clear up thay orbit. There is lots of old space junk though, as well as parts from existing satellites- tiny flecks of paint and metal from mini meteor collisions or satellite to satellite collisions. There is plans for NASA to trial a satellite which would havr the job of collecting space junk to deorbit and burn up in ths atmosphere, and there has been talk of USAF space command (which does all current space based things for the US military- the actual 'space force') to include space debris mitigation in their operations, as well as what they currently do like track objects and put military satellites into orbit. But you're right though, the current UN space regulations should be updated, and everyone who has an interest in space activities should be a sigatory of, a process to limit space debris- as the more cluttered space becomes, the less orbits can be used, and the less we can use the space environment for all its benefits Regarding what happens if a rocket fails- all rockets have overides which will destroy it if it goes off trajectory. If that was to fail though, it would be the fault of the company ultimately, and maybe the regulatory body of the country it launched in, for not ensuring that it complied with international safety standards. If it was found the standards were met, but were insufficient, that would probably cause a big international movement to update the standards to include safety considerations about that specific thing which had obviously not been accounted for
Reboot The Matrix (3 months ago)
Can't get passed the dome ceiling
The Fresh Squid (3 months ago)
Why do we need rockets again?
News 4 Star Stuffs (3 months ago)
Because we can't throw things hard enough to get them into orbit, and we do not have a space elevator yet.
Benjamin Block (3 months ago)
wtf are you talking about?
carbon273 (3 months ago)
Look around you. Think about how you are able to see this video. There’s so much you need to stop and think about lol.
Paul Kirmaier (3 months ago)
You wouldn’t have posted this without them
Desrtfox71 (3 months ago)
To put things in orbit, among a lot of other reasons.
Bsay Bass (3 months ago)
Nice video.
ALLYSON ZARICZNY (3 months ago)
No wonder amazon takes so long
The Kid with the Perfect Grammar (3 months ago)
Now, I can buy rockets and other space stuff.