Rocket Lab’s Electron is not the first commercial small-satellite launcher—that chapter in space history is reserved for Orbital Sciences Corp., predecessor to Orbital ATK, which in 1990 debuted the air-launched Pegasus rocket. But Electron, designed to carry payloads of 220-496 lb. (100-225 kg), about half Pegasus’ lift capacity—costs $5-6 million, nearly an order of magnitude less than Orbital’s booster, which still flies today.  Rocket Lab is not quite ...

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