Rocket Lab counts down to new test flight

10:33 am on 27 September 2017

New Zealand company Rocket Lab is set to deploy weather-mapping and ship-tracking satellites into space when it launches its second test flight in the coming weeks.

Rocket Lab's first test flight in May 2017.

Rocket Lab's first test flight, in May, made it to space but failed to achieve orbit. Photo: Supplied / Rocket Lab

The rocket, which will blast off from the launch complex on the Māhia Peninsula, will carry four satellites from two companies - Planet and Spire.

Rocket Lab carried out its first test launch in May, as part of its three-launch Electron test programme.

Its first rocket made it into space, although it failed to achieve orbit.

Chief executive Peter Beck said a third-party error was to blame for the failure to make orbit in the first launch and that had now been corrected.

He said a test payload marked a significant milestone for the test programme.

"We're thrilled with Electron's performance in the first test flight and now we're eager to test the next crucial step - payload deployment. No major changes to the launch vehicle hardware have been required."

Rocket Lab said the rocket would be trucked to its complex on the Māhia Peninsula in October, with a launch window expected to open in the weeks following.

The Rocket Lab site

The company's launch site on the Māhia Peninsula Photo: courtesy Rocket Lab

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