3D-Printed Rocket Successfully Blasts Off From New Zealand

3D-Printed Rocket Successfully Blasts Off From New Zealand

3D-Printed Rocket Successfully Blasts Off From New Zealand

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

"This launch and Rocket Lab's presence in Auckland and on the East Coast demonstrates what New Zealand can offer for those involved in the space industry here and internationally".

Small satellites are becoming more common.


Rocket Lab's big ambition is to be a dedicated launcher of small satellites.

The company says its mission is to provide "frequent launch opportunities to low Earth orbit" with a range of rocket systems and technologies "for fast and affordable payload deployment". In the coming weeks Rocket Lab engineers will analyze the data from today's launch to inform future launches. The second flight, called "Still Testing", will attempt to place three satellites into orbit, an Earth-imaging Dove satellite for the company Planet, as well as two Lemur-2 weather and ship tracking satellites for Spire Global.

The company launched its Electron rocket for the first time in May and reached space but not orbit. In May, the first Electron vehicle failed to reach orbit.

Then Rocket Lab also had some difficulty getting this second test flight off the ground.

In December, Electron missed its 10-day window after delays from weather and a last second abort.

The rocket's next launch is expected to take place in "early 2018", the company said in a Sunday press release, adding that "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, more than any other commercial or government launch provider in history". Its smaller size is meant to increase affordability and launch flexibility for customers with smaller payloads.

"Very nice launch. My heartiest congratulations to the Rocket Lab team".

Neither Rocket Lab nor Moon Express has given a date for a launch attempt.

"After 30 years in the launch industry with hundreds of launches, each one is still a thrill".

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