Hybrid Electric Rocket Has Arrived Thanks To Rocket Labs
While not a plug-in, we do occasionally pay tribute to clever hybrid electric vehicles and the Rocket Lab Electron rocket fits the bill.
The Electron fuel pumps make use of a DC electric motor and lithium battery in place of traditional pumps powered by hot gas.
Standing 17 meters in height and 1.2-meter diameter, this 2 stage rocket will focus on small satellite market of 225kg and less. Electron liftoff thrust is 162 kN with 192 kN peak thrust.
The carbon fiber design includes payload fairing and fuel tanks capable of carrying liquid oxygen thus maximizing lightweight flight.
An optional apogee kick stage is designed for multiple burns allowing additional payloads to be deployed into different circularized orbits. The Electron is powered by Rocket Lab’s 3D printed liquid propellant achieving 120N of multiple burn thrust.
Electron’s second stage is powered by a variant of a 3D printed Rutherford engine using an oxygen/kerosene pump-fed engine powered by high-performance electric pumps further reducing mass and replacing hardware with software.
Rocket Labs Electron HEV will begin launching commercial flights this year.
Check it out below: