Space race: Rocket Lab successfully sends rocket into orbit

Space race: Rocket Lab successfully sends rocket into orbit

On its second attempt this year, #Rocket Lab successfully launched three satellites into low #Earth Orbit on its Electron rocket from its New Zealand launch facility.

Those smaller rockets - including the current Electron model - are meant to serve the growing demand for deployment of small satellites known as microsats or cubesats.

Rocket Lab now has five Electron vehicles in production, with the next launch expected to take place in early 2018. When the web-cast shutdown, Electron Still Testing made orbit. In the coming weeks Rocket Lab engineers will analyze the data from today's launch to inform future launches. The first test took place in May 2017, but that rocket did not manage to enter orbit. Its Rutherford rocket engines are created by a 3D printing process.

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

A live video of the launch attempt will be available on Rocket Lab's website, with coverage beginning about 15 minutes before launch.

More news: Kerber beats Sharapova in 3rd round in Australia

This was the second of three planned test launches. The company tried to launch the first day of the window, but ultimately had to delay until Sunday in New Zealand, when the Electron finally took flight. One was an Earth-imaging Dove satellites built by Planet, and the other were Lemur-2 satellites that monitor weather and track ships, built by Spire.

Now, the Electron has shown its both capable of getting to orbit and deploying payloads successfully.

Plus, it's unclear when Rocket Lab will launch next and which customer the company will fly. Eventually, the plan is to launch much more frequently, perhaps more than 50 times a year, and this weekend's test flight is a big step toward making that happen. "We're thrilled to reach this milestone so quickly after our first test launch".

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

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