Rocket Lab has updated its Electron launch vehicle that now enables it to carry up to 660 pounds of payload to low orbits and 441 pounds to sun-synchronous orbits or 310.1 miles.
The Electron rocket's modified Rutherford engines also allows the vehicle to launch additional payloads to low-Earth, interplanetary and lunar orbits while supporting reusability and re-flight options, Rocket Lab said Tuesday.
In line with Electron's modified features, Rocket Lab's Photon satellite bus also saw an increase in payload mass capacity to 396 pounds to support missions beyond LEO.
Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, said the company sought to ensure flexibility in small-satellite missions with the recent updates to the Electron vehicle.
“When we created Electron, we set out to develop a launch vehicle that small satellite operators would turn to when they needed a dedicated ride to a unique orbit on their schedule,“ he noted.
Electron, which conducted its first flight in 2017, previously had a payload lift capacity of 331 pounds to SSO and a lift capacity of up to 496 pounds to lower orbits.