Rocket Lab launches second successful flight

Rocket Lab launches second successful flight

"We'll become the second company in the world to have put something in orbit, and New Zealand the 11th nation", said company founder Peter Beck.

Small satellites are becoming more common.

. Companies specializing in nano-satellites are limited when trying to find a launch company, and usually, have to hitch rides on launches of much bigger probes.

Following successful first and second stage burns, Electron reached orbit and deployed customer payloads at 8 minutes and 31 seconds after lift-off.

Rocket Lab had to sit out a December launch opportunity due to weather worries and technical snags.

The satellites are an Earth-imaging satellite for Planet, and two Lemur-2 satellites for Spire, for weather and ship tracking.

Meet "it's a Test", Rocket Lab's Electron rocket.

The launch of the rocket - named Still Testing - follows the company's first launch last May, in which the rocket got to space but did not make it to orbit after range safety officials had to kill the flight.

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Then Rocket Lab also had some difficulty getting this second test flight off the ground.

This company had a successful second launch, and has a very promising future - Rocket Lab expects to launch more than 50 times a year, and is regulated to launch up to 120 times a year, more than any other commercial or government launch provider in history.

Beck says the company will continue to base launches out of New Zealand, saying "right now we have all the capacity we need".

Richard Easther, a professor of physics at the University of Auckland, told Stuff.co.nz that Sunday was a "red-letter day for New Zealand," thanks to the Electron's orbital success. Its smaller size is meant to increase affordability and launch flexibility for customers with smaller payloads.

"After 30 years in the launch industry with hundreds of launches, each one is still a thrill".

Shortly after, it suspended launch attempts until early 2018.

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