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Test rocket makes successful launch into space from New Zealand

Test rocket makes successful launch into space from New Zealand

Liftoff of the mission, dubbed "It's a Test", took place at 4:20 p.m. "It is the first visible sign of a space industry in New Zealand and is an achievement Rocket Lab, and all New Zealanders can be proud of".

The first launch was postponed several times due to weather, but Beck said Rocket Lab will be less wary about the weather once the flight test program is finished. "Team delighted. More to follow!"

The Electron rocket, which did not have a satellite aboard during this test flight, was meant to reach an elliptical orbit, about 186 to 310 miles above Earth at an 83- degree inclination.

3D-printed rocket components are seen as a key method of driving down the often prohibitive cost of space transport.

"We're one of a few companies to ever develop a rocket from scratch and we did it in under four years", Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said in a press release.

Rocket Lab says it will launch as many as 50 rockets per year, but is allowed to launch more than twice that number.

The launch makes New Zealand just the 11th country to launch an orbital rocket, but the first from a private facility.

A view of the Electron rocket in the hangar.




It's a different plan than some other space companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX, which uses larger rockets to carry bigger payloads. However, he said a preliminary review indicated that the two-stage rocket's performance was nominal until second-stage fairing separation. The company will be investigating why and will aim for the Electron to get to orbit during its second test flight.

'Made it to space.

The ground was broken on this geographic location in December 2015 and was officially opened September 26, 2016. "That includes all launch service providers combined". Beyond that, many small satellite operators have been booking Electron rides, and Rocket Lab says it already has a almost full manifest for this year and next.

Rocket Lab's Peter Beck had stated, "We're not going to fly until we're ready".

Rockets are not generally rated in horsepower, but for comparison, a Toyota Corolla has about 160hp and a distant cousin of the Electron, the Saturn V which launched men to the Moon, had more than 30 million hp.

"This flight has put us in a very, very strong position to start our commercial operations later in the year".

The goal of the launch is to collect data to inform future tests and commercial launches, making space more accessible in New Zealand.

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