Published: Mon, January 22, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

Another milestone for New Zealand space industry - Parker

Another milestone for New Zealand space industry - Parker

New Zealand officially joined the ranks of commercial space-faring nations on Sunday and made history at the same time.

Rocket Lab said previously that the results of the "Still Testing" launch, if the rocket "performs nominally", may cause the company to accelerate the Electron program into commercial use.

A rocket launched from New Zealand has successfully reached orbit carrying commercial satellites.

The mission, titled "Still Testing", deployed three satellites.

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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 has successfully reached orbit with the test flight of its second Electron orbital launch vehicle, Still Testing.

Rocket Lab blasted off into space on Saturday, taking a major step toward opening low-priced access for a new generation of satellites. Today they took a significant step towards that.

Space company Rocket Lab has been inundated with messages from around the world after successfully launching its Electron rocket into orbit. This required the range safety officer to order the rocket to self-destruct.

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Before customers can start flying, Rocket Lab needed to show that the Electron could do its job, and getting to orbit was a key goal of this test.

Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck says his company delivered a mysterious object into orbit during yesterday's Electron launch - but he's not revealing exactly what just yet.

"Ten years ago, under the last Labour Government, Rocket Lab received its first research and development grant". Its first and only flight occurred on November 20, 2009, from Great Mercury Island near the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. Each day the launch window will open at 2:30 p.m. local time in New Zealand, or 8:30 p.m. EST. This opened the door to formally initiating a feasibility study into low-priced launcher systems for nanosatellites.

The Electron Rocket The Electron Rocket stands 17 meters (56 feet) tall, and has a diameter of 1.2 meters (3 feet 11 inches), and carries a fully-fueled mass of 10,500 kilograms (23,100 pounds).

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"The engines ignited but a couple engines didn't like the temperature of the liquid oxygen, so it automatically shut down", Beck said.

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