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Submission + - Rocket Lab successfully tests "kick stage" of Electron rocket. (

JoshuaZ writes: Rocket Lab, a New Zealand based rocket company, successfully launched their Electron rocket on Saturday. Their rocket has multiple innovations, including a carbon composite main body, 3D printed engines, and electric turbopumps. Right now, there's heavy demand for very small satellites, but in practice the small satellites frequently have trouble being launched and almost always must either join a conglomerate of many small satellites or must go up with a large satellite. This can lead to serious delays for the small satellites as well as meaning that they often cannot get their ideal orbit. Rocket Lab's intent with a small, cheap rocket is to be able to address those issues for the small satellite market. Now, on top of their launch success, they have announced that they also used a small third stage, called a "kick stage" to help put some of their payloads in better orbits. The kick stage uses an engine named Curie, and Rocket Lab has stated that it uses a green monopropellant, which in this case means a monopropellant which is reasonably non-toxic and easy to clean up, in contrast to some other choices such as hydrazine whose toxicity can be a serious hazard. The success of the kick stage puts Rocket Lab in an even better position in the small satellite market since very small satellites frequently do not have the ability to substantially adjust their own orbit or may not be able to alter their own orbits at all.
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Rocket Lab successfully tests "kick stage" of Electron rocket.

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Make it myself? But I'm a physical organic chemist!