Published: Tue, November 13, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Rocket Lab successfully completes first commercial launch

Rocket Lab successfully completes first commercial launch

The rocket blasted off at 4.50pm, soon after a new launch window period of just over a week began at 4pm.

"We're thrilled to be leading the small satellite launch industry by reaching orbit a second time and deploying more payloads".

"The world is waking up to the new normal", said Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck, speaking of the triumphant launch.

The start-up launched a 56 foot (17-metre) rocket from the Mahia Peninsula in the North Island, New Zealand, as part of a new nanotechnology space race.

USA -based aerospace manufacturer Rocket Lab completed its first successful commercial launch on Saturday, sending seven spacecraft including "six tiny satellites and a drag sail demonstrator" into orbit aboard a relatively small Electron rocket designed primarily for smallsats and cubesats, Spaceflight Now reported. After first reaching orbit on Electron's second stage, the Curie kick stage successfully separated and circularized its orbit before deploying six satellites for customers Spire Global, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Fleet Space Technologies and the Irvine CubeSat Stem Program.

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The Electron rocket was launched from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. A burn lasting almost two minutes aimed to circularize the kick stage's orbit at an altitude of around 499km before release of the mission's six satellite passengers.

Hoping to eventually take away some of the hundreds (if not thousands) of defunct satellites burgeoning our skies, one interesting payload to hitch a ride with the Electron was a drag sail technology demonstrator, designed and built by High Performance Space Structure Systems GmbH, known as NABEO. The first successful test of the Electron rocket came in January of this year. While the Electron rocket is designed for lower cost access to space, its smaller size does mean that the payload size is limited.

Rocket Lab has launched its first rocket taking only commercial satellite cargo.

Rocket Lab succeeded this weekend in moving from a company testing its rocket to one that has truly begun commercial operations. The 18 total launches planned so far gives Rocket Lab about $3 billion in revenue in the pipeline. Beck estimates there are over 100 companies trying to catch up.

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