Rocket Lab hopes to aggressively step up launch frequency at the end of the year after modifying equipment that forced it to scrub a launch window in June.

The company says it plans to launch two Electron rockets just weeks apart in November and December.

Speaking from the Small Satellite Conference in Utah, Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck said his customers weren't worried about delays that were common in space programmes.

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''Our customers are more concerned about with us coming up with a reliable way of launching,'' he said.

The company, which is registered in the United States but has most of its operations in this country, had modified motor controllers on its Electron Rocket after their behaviour in June forced a delay. A planned launch in April was also delayed.

''We could put one on the pad (now) but when something carries a risk that's not how we operate.''

Following analysis, the motor controllers have been modified and undergone new qualification testing ahead of the next launch.

Elon Musk's SpaceX — which launches bigger vehicles — had taken seven years to achieve with Rocket Lab had done in four, Beck said.

''We are batting above everyone.''

A launch in January successfully delivered payload into orbit following one that reached space in May, 2017.

Beck said following continued analysis of flight data, weather tolerance at the Mahia Peninsula launch site had widened.


The twice-delayed ''It's Business Time'' mission will launch in November, with the ELaNa XIX mission for Nasa to follow soon after in December.

Beck said the speedy turnaround between launches was possible thanks to designing the Electron rocket for rapid manufacture, as well as Launch Complex-1's ability to process and launch vehicles quickly.

"This year our team focused on scaling up production to churn out Electron rockets at a rate of one per month. Now that we're hitting that production rate, we're working to get them launched at the same frequency by the end of this year, and increasing cadence into 2019," he said.

It's Business Time's manifest includes a number of small satellites and a ''drag sail'' demonstrator - technology that speeds up the deterioration of satellites, meaning space junk disappears more quickly.

The December launch includes Nasa satellites for educational institutions.

Applications of the CubeSats booked on the mission include research such as measuring radiation in the Van Allen belts to understand their impact on spacecraft, through to monitoring space weather.

Rocket Lab's Electron is made of carbon composite and is powered by 3D-printed, electric-pump-fed engines. It is a two-stage vehicle capable of delivering payloads of 150kg to a 500km sun-synchronous orbit.

It is a privately funded company with United States investors including Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC (Data Collective), Lockheed Martin, Promus Ventures and K1W1 in this country. The company has raised about $200m from these sources and it can draw on Callaghan Innovation funds which Beck has said would be less than $10m.