Rocketlab announces the Electrons big Brother The Neutron. A medium lift vehicle able to lift 8000kg (8tons) to Low Earth Orbit and 1500kg (1.5ton's) to Venus or mars.
Neutron features a reusable first stage designed to land on an ocean platform similar to SpaceX repulsive landing, enabling a high launch cadence and decreased launch costs for customers.
RELIABLE AND COST-EFFECTIVE LAUNCH SERVICES FOR CONSTELLATION DEPLOYMENT, CARGO RESUPPLY, INTERPLANETARY MISSIONS. HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT CAPABLE.
The interesting thing is they also say it human spaceflight capable. Peter Beck said "they don't fly meat" meaning launching humans into space... there won't be a bigger rocket or an Electron Heavy, and won't be reusable as it doesn't scale up on the small launcher and he would eat his hat if that happened... Rocketlab is now doing everything they said they wouldn't be doing.
This is just me but I have a funny feeling that Rocketlab are further along in the development of the Neutron Rocket than we are lead to believe. The Merger was a good time to make it public and to go public to help raise the extra funds. I am not saying this is true, but watching and remembering old interviews, even though he said they won't be making a bigger launch vehicle in the fore-seeable future... But always said more is coming. Like a PR stunt to launch a product... It is a good stunt having every one think only small satellites... then bang and 8ton to LEO or 2 tons t the moon... 1.5 tons to Mars or Venus... that is is good PR.
But I would like to also point out markets change and they can change very fast and you have to move with the markets or get left behind.
The Electron is currently going through tests for reusability. They have announced the Neutron rocket the Electron's bigger brother and that it is human space flight capable. To be fair capable doesn't mean that they will just means it will be capable if needed or the right circumstances arise.
Some of the best quotes I saw on the Youtube video comments;
- "At rocket lab, when we say we're never going to do something, we still do it"
- "Well, that escalated quickly…"
According to the Rocketlab website they will be launching from 2024 only three years after announcing it. Which tells me they have been working on this in the background for a while.
- HEIGHT40 m / 131 ft
- FAIRING DIAMETER4.5 m
- PAYLOAD TO LEO8,000 kg
- PAYLOAD TO VENUS1500 kg
- PROPELLANTLOX / Kerosene