The U.S. spaceflight startup Rocket Lab will attempt the first commercial launch of its new Electron rocket today (June 22), and you can watch the liftoff live online.
This mission, which the company has named “It’s Business Time,” follows two test flights of the Electron rocket. The craft’s debut flight, “It’s a Test,” launched on May 25, 2017, and made it to space, but the rocket didn’t reach the desired altitude. A follow-up flight on Jan. 21, dubbed “Still Testing,” was considered successful, despite a series of launch aborts and delays caused by weather and wayward boats, among other things.
Rocket Lab initially aimed to launch the “It’s Business Time” mission April 19, but postponed it after spotting “unusual motor controller behaviour” during a launch dress rehearsal. The company spent the following weeks confirming the Electron was ready to fly for its customers.
To mark “It’s Business Time,” Rocket Lab launch team member Kieran Fanning snapped a spectacular photo of the Electron booster on its seaside launchpad in New Zealand.
“Given the weather had been mostly cloudy earlier on in the day, I wasn’t really anticipating the chance to get a shot like this,” Fanning told Space.com via email. “As we neared the end of operations for the wet dress rehearsal, the clouds opened up to reveal the skies above and I knew this was probably my best ever opportunity. I quickly ran to get my gear and used a concrete block to prop the camera up and started snapping before the clouds rolled in about ten minutes later. Absolutely a case of right time, right place, and right-ish gear!”. If Rocket Lab scrubs or delays today’s liftoff, the company still has a 14-day launch window for this mission. That means it could launch any day between now and July 6