Breaking into the launch industry is no uncomplicated task, but brand-new Zealand’s missile Lab has done it without missing a step. The company has just completed its third commercial launch of 2019, and is planning to increase the frequency of its launches until there’s one a week. It’s ambitious, but few things in spaceflight aren’t.
Although it has risen to prominence over the last two years at a remarkable rate, the impression of missile Lab in the launch mart isn’t exactly sudden. One does not engineer and experiment an orbital launch system in a day.
The brand-new Zealand-based company was founded in 2006, and for years pursued smaller projects while putting together the Rutherford missile motor, which would eventually energy its Electron launch automobile.
Far from the ambitions of the likes of SpaceX and Blue Origin, which covet heavy-launch capabilities to contest with ULA to bring payloads beyond Earth orbit, missile Lab and its Electron LV have been laser-focused on frequent and reliable access to orbit.
Utilizing 3D printed motor elements that can be turned out in a solo day rather than weeks, and other manufacturing efficiencies, the company has gone from producing a missile a year to one a month, with the goal of one a week, to match or exceed its launch cadence.
Seem excessive? The years-long backlog of projects waiting to go to orbit disagrees. There’s require to spare and the mart is only growing.
Peter Beck, the company’s founder and CEO, sat down with us to talk about the process of construction a launch provider from scratch, and where the company goes from here — other than up.