Rocket Lab hopes to launch commercial rocket

Christopher Davidson
November 11, 2018

The start-up fired one of its 17-metre Electron rockets from the Mahia Peninsula in the North Island about 5pm on Sunday (local time), dropping off its first fully-fledged business payload - six satellites and an experimental piece of technology for five clients - in space about an hour later.

The rocket blasted off at 4.50pm, soon after a new launch window period of just over a week began at 4pm.

Rocket Lab's founder Peter Beck said today it was a flawless flight, and the launch marks a new era in space technology.

US-owned Rocket Lab runs the world's first privately-owned launch facility and focuses on getting small deliveries into orbit at relatively low costs.

Mr Beck said Rocket Lab hopes to launch its next rocket, carrying equipment for NASA into orbit, in a few weeks time.

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The Mahia launch is being commanded from Rocket Lab's new rocket factory in Mount Wellington, Auckland.

Rocket Lab has launched its first rocket taking only commercial satellite cargo.

Rocket Lab was unable to launch the Electron rocket earlier in the year because of a technical issue, but did have a successful test launch in January.

The satellites are from Spire, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Fleet Space Technologies, as well as a payload from the Irvine Cube Sat STEM Program and a technology demonstrator built by High Performance Space Structure Systems GmBH, will monitor social and commercial services such as global internet from space, weather predictions and crops.

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