Rocket Lab Launches 1st Commercial Rocket with Success
Rocket Lab successfully launched its 1st commercial rocket, carrying seven payloads into orbit on Sunday. The mission, named “It’s Business Time,” marks Rocket Lab’s second successful orbital launch and deployment of customer satellites.
Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle lifted-off from Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 3:50 UTC. After first reaching orbit on Electron’s second stage, the Curie kick stage successfully separated and circularized its orbit before deploying six satellites for customers Spire Global, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Fleet Space Technologies and the Irvine CubeSat Stem Program. Curie also carried NABEO, a drag sail technology demonstrator, designed and built by High Performance Space Structure Systems GmbH, to passively de-orbit inactive small satellites and reduce space junk.
Rocket Lab carried out two orbital launches in 2018, and is poised for high-frequency launches in 2019 due to its production facilities that help to enable mass Electron rocket production, as well as a private launch complex licensed to launch up to 120 times per year.