Peter Beck with Electron Mockup in 2015. Components of a lab report Lab was founded in New Zealand in 2007 by Peter Beck.
It launched a sounding rocket named Atea 1, the first private launch to space in the Southern Hemisphere, in November 2009. In December 2010, Rocket Lab won a U. The effort included development of the Rutherford engine, named for the New Zealand-born British physicist Ernest Rutherford, to power Electron. Rutherford used brushless DC motors powered by lithium polymer batteries to power its turbopump, replacing the usual gas generator. Rocket Lab announced its Electron plans to the world in 2015.
NASA awarded the company a Venture Class Launch Services contract on October 31, 2015. 95 million contract was for the launch of a NASA payload to low earth orbit on the fifth Electron, at the time expected to fly between late 2016 and early 2017. The design adopted innovative carbon composite tanks to hold both the kerosene fuel and the cryogenic liquid oxygen oxidizer. Nine Rutherford engines, each producing 1.
739 tonnes of sea-level thrust at a 303 second vacuum specific impulse, powered the first stage. A single Rutherford Vacuum Engine powered the second stage, producing 2. 55 tonnes at liftoff, rising on 15. 2 meters diameter and stands stand 17 meters tall.