Published: Sun, January 21, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Rocket Lab Launches 2nd Test Flight of Electron Small-Satellite Booster

Rocket Lab Launches 2nd Test Flight of Electron Small-Satellite Booster

Aerospace company Rocket Lab said Sunday it had successfully fired a rocket into orbit for the first time from its New Zealand launch base. Each day the launch window will open at 2:30 p.m. local time in New Zealand, or 8:30 p.m. EST.

"Electron is orbital. Successful payload deployment", the company tweeted.

Still Testing was carrying a Dove Pioneer Earth-imaging satellite for launch customer Planet, as well as two Lemur-2 satellites for weather and ship tracking company Spire. The company was initially set to launch the satellites in mid-December, but delayed the launch after finding a "power fault" during ground checkouts.

A range of government agencies, led by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), are supporting Rocket Lab's test launch activities to ensure they are safe and secure.

It's the third time the rocket has tried to launch since May when its first take off was nearly successful- it reached space but failed to orbit after the launch was shut down due to communication issues.

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Company CEO and founder Peter Beck, a New Zealander, said the launch marks the beginning of a new era in commercial access to space. The engines were made with 3D printers to save money.

A United States venture firm, Rocket Lab, has put 3 small satellites into orbit.

"It was great to see the Still Testing rocket make orbit and successfully deploy the payloads on this second test flight".

In the coming weeks Rocket Lab engineers will analyse the data from today's launch to inform future launches.

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