Rocket Lab Launches 1st Commercial Rocket with Success

Rocket Lab Electron launch

Those include two ship-tracking satellites for Spire Global; a small climate- and environment-monitoring satellite for GeoOptics; a small probe built by high school students in Irvine, California; and a demonstration version of a drag sail that would pull defunct satellites out of orbit.

Private space sports are a rarity, and Rocket Lab's is the only one that is seeing regular use.

Rocket Lab's 57-foot-tall (17 meters) Electron booster is scheduled to rise off the pad at the company's New Zealand launch site Saturday at 10 p.m. EST (0300 GMT and 4 p.m. local New Zealand time on November 11), on a mission dubbed "It's Business Time".

On board was seven spacecraft, which mostly comprised of small satellites and one drag sail called NABEO, which is created to deorbit inactive, small satellites to help reduce space junk.

The mission, called It's Business Time (It's time for business), was postponed several times due to technical and weather problems.

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

Rocket Lab recently moved into a new headquarters in Auckland where it has both mission control and a factory for producing rockets.

We will remind, in October, the company SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 with the Argentine satellite. "It's a very serious business", said CEO Peter Beck.

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Rocket Lab are also constructing a second pad on the East Coast of the US.

The company's nearest competitors in the small rocket sector, including Virgin Orbit and Stratolaunch, now face even more pressure to get into orbit.

There are seven payloads, all small satellites.

That means while Rocket Lab is capital-intensive, it's still has nothing on Space X's constant need for external capital raising.

Rocket Lab, however, now has a clear edge in the race to cheap space with most of the other companies still being in the prototyping and testing stage of their operations.

In comparison, 83 successful launches were made worldwide in 2017, of which 64 operated by commercial companies and the rest by space nations like China, India and Russian Federation.


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