New Zealand test rocket makes it to space but not into orbit

Loading Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck in front of the launch tower at Mahia

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Rocket Lab today conducted the first test launch of its Electron rocket, supported by Airways New Zealand to ensure its safe passage through New Zealand's airspace.

Council CEO Fergus Power said he was proud of the team who had helped contribute to yesterday's outcome - especially those who had "moved mountains" to ensure Rocket Lab understood of all potential launch sites.

The Electron rocket, which did not have a satellite aboard during this test flight, was meant to reach an elliptical orbit, about 186 to 310 miles above Earth at an 83- degree inclination. "The company has received up to $25 million in corporate welfare under Mr Joyce and that figure doesn't include the almost $20 million allocated for a dedicated "space agency" as part of MBIE". The second flight will aim towards getting into orbit, and will try to maximize the rocket's payload.

New Zealand has become the 11th country to launch into space, joining superpowers and tech heavyweights.

The 17-meter tall (56ft) Electron rocket is made of carbon-composite, which is low mass and strong.

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However, Rocket Lab has two more tests planned for 2017 to sort the issue out before it starts commercial flights.

Rocket Lab has successfully completed the first launch of its new miniature rocket. Rocket Lab is confident that implemented optimizations with the Electron architecture and further test flights will "make space open for business". The company hopes to begin commercial launches later this year and eventually launch one rocket every week.

"The key for us is to make Wairoa more exciting so they have got more to do.to keep them in Wairoa rather than have them heading out of town". "We've developed everything in-house, built the world's first private orbital launch range, and we've done it with a small team".

When fully operational, Rocket Lab hopes that the Electron rocket will be able to service the growing market for smallsat launches.

The company would work through the data collected from the flight to refine future launches. Private businesses and other clients could then use such devices to monitor crops and the weather but also for "Internet from space, natural disaster prediction, up-to-date maritime data as well as search and rescue services", according to Beck. The Electron is just 55 feet high, making it much tinier than other commercial orbital vehicles like SpaceX's Falcon 9 or the United Launch Alliance's Atlas V, which tower above 200 feet.

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