Rocket Lab makes history with 1st successful commercial launch

Alicia Guzman
January 22, 2018

Rocket Lab's Electron rocket successfully reached orbit and deployed three satellites Saturday night Pacific time in the Huntington Beach, Calif., rocket company's second test flight.

Australia is still at least 12 months away from a rocket launch, but experts say there are other promising areas in the space industry here which promise to generate many jobs. Operators of tiny satellites don't have many options to get to space, and typically have to hitch rides on launches of much bigger probes.

"We're thrilled to reach this milestone so quickly after our first test launch", Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck said in a statement. The first test took place in May 2017, but that rocket did not manage to enter orbit.

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The payload for the launch, according to SpaceNews, included two cubesats for the data company Spire and one for Planet Labs. The Electron makes use of carbon composite materials for its rocket core, and 3-D printing techniques for its Rutherford rocket engines. The company had the option to fly anytime during four-hour increments each day of the window, but a combination of bad weather and a series of technical challenges prevented the Electron from taking off.

This was the second of three planned test launches.

New Zealand officially joined the ranks of commercial space-faring nations on Sunday and made history at the same time.

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Now, the Electron has shown its both capable of getting to orbit and deploying payloads successfully. Its smaller size is meant to increase affordability and launch flexibility for customers with smaller payloads.

Plus, it's unclear when Rocket Lab will launch next and which customer the company will fly.

Rocket Lab now has five Electron vehicles in production, with the next launch expected to take place in early 2018.

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The company had conducted several launch attempts in December which failed to take off.

Other reports by Info About Network

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