Rocket Lab successfully launches rocket into space from New Zealand
After several weather delays, Rocket Lab successfully launched its Electron rocket from its Mahia peninsula site on New Zealand’s South Island, as part of a series of tests on Thursday afternoon.
The 17 metre (56 feet) long Electron finally took off at 4:20 p.m. local time, marking the first orbital-class rocket launched from a private launch site in the world.
“It has been an incredible day and I’m immensely proud of our talented team,” Peter Beck, CEO and founder of California-based Rocket Lab, said in a statement.
The Electron, however, didn’t quite make it to orbit and Rocket Lab will look into why.
“It was a great flight. We had a great first stage burn, stage separation, second stage ignition and fairing separation. We didn’t quite reach orbit and we’ll be investigating why, however reaching space in our first test puts us in an incredibly strong position to accelerate the commercial phase of our programme, deliver our customers to orbit and make space open for business,” Beck added.
The California-based company is one of the latest entrants into private spaceflight, where it’s looking to reduce the cost of launching small satellites for companies around the world.
Thursday’s launch marks the first of three test flights this year, and the company expects to launch more than 50 flights a year.
For those with the means, you can book your own dedicated flight on the company’s website, or book a “rideshare” for your CubeSat from US$77,000. One can dream.