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Rocket Lab’s Electron Rocket Reaches Space

By | May 26, 2017
      The Electron lifts off from Mahia peninsula. Photo: Rocket Lab.

      The Electron lifts off from Mahia peninsula. Photo: Rocket Lab.

      Rocket Lab announced that its Electron rocket reached space after lifting off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand on May 25. According to Rocket Lab, the Electron is the first orbital-class rocket launched from a private launch site in the world.

      “We had a great first stage burn, stage separation, second stage ignition and fairing separation. We didn’t quite reach orbit and we’ll be investigating why, however reaching space in our first test puts us in an incredibly strong position to accelerate the commercial phase of our program, deliver our customers to orbit and make space open for business,” said Peter Beck, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rocket Lab.

      Over the coming weeks, Rocket Lab’s engineers in Los Angeles and Auckland, New Zealand, will work through the 25,000 data channels that were collected during the test flight. The results will inform measures taken to optimize the vehicle.

      This launch was the first of three test flights scheduled for this year. Rocket Lab will target getting to orbit on the second test and look to maximize the payload the rocket can carry.

      At full production, Rocket Lab expects to launch more than 50 times a year, and is regulated to launch up to 120 times a year. Rocket Lab’s commercial phase will see Electron fly already-signed customers including NASA, Spire, Planet, Moon Express and Spaceflight.