Rocket Lab announces World's First Commercial Launch Site Close


Rocket Lab is redefining how we access space. Powered by our brand new Rutherford motor; small, fast and agile, Electron can rapidly deliver small satellites to commercial orbits at world-first price and frequency.

Space is now open for business.

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Rutherford Engine

Rocket Lab’s flagship engine, the 4,600lbf Rutherford, is a turbo-pumped LOX/RP-1 engine specifically designed for the Electron Launch Vehicle.

Rutherford adopts an entirely new electric propulsion cycle, using electric motors to drive its turbopumps, and is the first oxygen/hydrocarbon engine to use 3D printing for all primary components.

The Rutherford Engine

From Tip to Tail

Electron is a two stage vehicle that uses Rocket Lab’s Rutherford liquid engine on both stages.

The first Electron launch is planned for 2015, with commercial operations scheduled to begin in 2016. At a cost of $4.9M Electron is the most affordable dedicated launch service for small satellites to Low Earth Orbit.



Electron is designed for a nominal payload of 100kg to a 500km sun-synchronous orbit.

Rocket Lab is able to tailor the vehicle to specific mission requirements including a range of sun-synchronous altitudes in circular or elliptical orbits at inclinations between 45 and 98 degrees.

Orbit Graph

‘Plug and Play’ Integration

Rocket Lab’s streamlined approach to payload integration eliminates the risk of cascading delays and enables customers to have standby payloads ready to go.

‘Plug and Play’ Integration
Carbon Composite

Carbon Composite

Electron makes use of advanced carbon composites for a strong and lightweight flight structure.

Rocket Lab’s extensive research and development programme has enabled liquid oxygen compatible composite tanks, which provide impressive weight savings and give Electron an overall mass efficiency unique among its class of rockets.

More about Carbon Composite

First Stage

First Stage

Electron’s first stage is powered by multiple Rutherford engines with a total peak thrust of 146.6kN, enough to lift a fully laden double decker bus off the ground.

• Lift off thrust: 152kN (34,500lbf)
• Peak thrust: 183kN (41,500lbf)

Second Stage

Second Stage

Electron’s second stage is powered by our Rutherford Vacuum Engine which is tailored to provide improved performance in vacuum conditions.

• Total thrust: 22kN (5,000lbf)


Electron’s avionics are responsible for flight sequencing, data recording, navigation, guidance, and control, all the way to orbit.

More about Avionics


Online booking

Choose your launch date, destination and even your position on the rocket using Rocket Lab’s new online booking system for CubeSats.

1U Cubesat
From: US$50,000

3U Cubesat
From: US$180,000

Book now

Looking for a dedicated launch? Contact Rocket Lab.

The Numbers