US: Commercial spaceflight operator, Rocket Lab, has made making reservation for a small satellite launch as easy as booking a flight from New York to Washington. The company announced its online booking system at the SmallSat conference in Utah this week. For as little as $50,000, you can reserve a slot for your satellite on the 18-metre carbon composite rocket Electron. The online reservation system allows a user to select a date, destination and position on the Electron. Destinations offered include sun-synchronous and 45 degrees. The company’s CEO Peter Beck even admits that the system is quite similar to booking an airline ticket. He says that if the company has trouble filling seats close to the time of the launch, they may even dish out discounts to make sure that the flight is full. Beck explains that Rocket Lab is not just trying to provide affordable and frequent launches. The company wants to make space accessible to customers by giving them information about what they can launch, when they can launch it, and how much it’s going to cost. And even though the company’s commercial operations won’t begin until the mid of next year, you can see online that some flights are already nearly sold out. Perhaps, customers’ confidence is getting bolstered by the fact that only last month Rocket Lab Rocket Lab signed an agreement with NASA. This deal has enabled Rocket Lab to use NASA’s resources – including personnel, facilities and equipment – for launch efforts. So, while the company’s primary launch facility is being built in New Zealand, an access to NASA’s launch complexes would give customers a wider spectrum of orbital inclinations to choose from.
Source: Rocket Lab