Rocket Lab sets NZ launch date
Rocket Lab is planning the first test-launch of its Electron rocket on May 22 from its Mahia Peninsula launch pad in Hawkes Bay, weather permitting.
The launch will be a worldfirst attempt to send a rocket into orbit from a private launch pad.
Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck said the attempt would collect data for future test and commercial launches.
‘‘Our number one priority is to gather enough data and experience to prepare for a commercial phase. Only then can we can start delivering on our mission to make space more accessible,’’ Beck said.
The test launch is the first of three planned ahead of the first commercial launch.
Electron, developed by the American-New Zealand aerospace company, is made of carbon-composite that uses a 3D printed engine for its main propulsion system.
It has been designed to carry payloads, such as small satellites, to a low orbit.
It will allow constellations of small satellites to provide services like cheaper affordable internet from space and environmental monitoring, natural disaster prediction and search and rescue services.
If the launch is a success the rocket vehicle will reach an elliptical orbit, varying between 300 kilometres and 500km above earth at an 83 degree inclination.