22 Jan 2018

Rocket Lab launches Electron satellite into orbit

From Morning Report, 7:21 am on 22 January 2018

Rocket Lab successfully launched a rocket from the Hawke's Bay's Mahia Peninsula on Sunday, sending it's Electron satellite into orbit. The triumph means Rocket Lab will soon be ready to forge ahead in the commercial space industry. To discuss the significance of the launch we're joined by Nick Rattenbury, an astrophysicist at the University of Auckland.

He says there is a downside to the rising number of satellites going into orbit. "We've essentially become very good at littering near-Earth orbit with our bits and pieces of satellite technology. When you consider that even the smallest piece of hard material travelling at those speeds can impact the International Space Station or other crewed spacecraft, could cause disastrous effects, we need to be very aware of this."