Space race: Rocket Lab successfully sends rocket into orbit

Rutherford Engine – via Rocket Lab

The company has faced a series of hurdles in launching its Electron rocket, known as Still Testing, into orbit.

Rocket Lab's Electron rocket took off from a picturesque commercial launch base in New Zealand on Saturday, U.S. time, on a test flight that delivered three CubeSats into orbit on the company's first successful satellite deployment.

"Rocket Lab was founded on the principle of opening access to space to better understand our planet and improve life on it".

It's a big development for the industry, meaning that smaller companies will now be able to have their satellites launched into orbit for a relative fraction of what it cost in the past.

The small-satellite booster lifted off at 2:43 p.m. local time (0143 GMT) from the company's Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.

"Today we took a significant step towards that", Mr Beck said.

Satellite payloads themselves are worth anywhere from $200,000 to "half a billion".

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"Ten years ago, under the last Labour Government, Rocket Lab received its first research and development grant".

The small-satellite launch company's Electron rocket carried an Earth-imaging satellite and two satellites that enable weather and ship tracking, which were meant to help Rocket Lab gather "crucial data and test systems for the deployment state of a mission".

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

Small satellites are becoming more common.

.

Meet "it's a Test", Rocket Lab's Electron rocket. The Electron makes use of carbon composite materials for its rocket core, and 3-D printing techniques for its Rutherford rocket engines.

Moon Express's dream of a private lunar landing closer to reality.

Now, the Electron has shown its both capable of getting to orbit and deploying payloads successfully. But Rocket Lab does have five completed Electron rockets available, and expects to fly again in "early 2018". "We're thrilled to reach this milestone so quickly after our first test launch".

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