11 Nov 2018

Rocket Lab launches commercial rocket

8:42 pm on 11 November 2018

Six satellites onboard a rocket launched from the Mahia Peninsula have all been successfully deployed into orbit.

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Today's Electron Rocket launch from Mahia Peninsula Photo: Screenshot

Rocket Lab's Electron Rocket took off from its launch pad at 4.50pm today.

It is the company's first commercial rocket launch, after several attempts to launch its "Business Time" rocket in June and July were unsuccessful, due to problems with a motor controller or bad weather.

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

"You know, going to orbit once it's great, but doing it again and twice in one year and then moving into a launch cadence at the rate that we are is really transformational for the whole space industry."

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

The rocket carried the six satellites into orbit amid a new technology demonstrator.

The rocket lofted commercial satellites from Spire Global, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Fleet Space Technologies, as well as an educational payload from the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program (ICSP) and a drag sail technology demonstrator designed and built by High Performance Space Structure Systems.

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

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