Rocket Lab in orbit

Rocket Lab have successfully launched a rocket to reach orbit from their Mahia Peninsula launch site in New Zealand yesterday.

Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit and deploys payloads


Rocket Lab has successfully reached orbit with the test flight of its second Electron orbital launch vehicle, Still Testing. Electron lifted-off at 14:43 NZDT from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on the Māhia Peninsula in New Zealand.

Following successful first and second stage burns, Electron reached orbit and deployed customer payloads at 8 minutes and 31 seconds after lift-off.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era in commercial access to space. We’re thrilled to reach this milestone so quickly after our first test launch,” says Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck. “Our incredibly dedicated and talented team have worked tirelessly to develop, build and launch Electron. I’m immensely proud of what they have achieved today.”

“Reaching orbit on a second test flight is significant on its own, but successfully deploying customer payloads so early in a new rocket program is almost unprecedented. Rocket Lab was founded on the principal of opening access to space to better understand our planet and improve life on it. Today we took a significant step towards that,” he says.

In the coming weeks Rocket Lab engineers will analyse the data from today’s launch to inform future launches. Rocket Lab currently has five Electron vehicles in production, with the next launch expected to take place in early 2018.  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.

Still Testing was carrying a Dove Pioneer Earth-imaging satellite for launch customer Planet, as well as two Lemur-2 satellites for weather and ship tracking company Spire.


  1. Blazer

     /  January 22, 2018

    Tom Thumb…wait till Kim..sees it…put the wind up..him.

    • Isn’t their proposed satellite about the size of a loaf of bread?

      • NOEL

         /  January 22, 2018

        This is the age of the cubsat and low cost launch.
        When you look back on the cost of those bus sized satellites that cost millions apiece and required monster expensive launch rockets, this latest is an achievement.
        Cheaper launch facilities coupled with small satellites can only mean reduced cost for the consumer.

  2. David

     /  January 22, 2018

    What an awesome achievement, excited to see what comes next for these guys.

    • Blazer

       /  January 22, 2018

      I expect it to be another Martin Jetpack venture.Mopping up investors money with empty promises.A good lifestyle project for the founders.I take a very pessimistic view of this type of…’investment..mind.

  3. George

     /  January 22, 2018

    I was a bit dubious yesterday when the boats encroaching story went to air.
    However they’ve done it.
    Accordingly we are just behind China and lead North Korea by several decades.
    Any chance some-ones going to put a rubbish collecting device up to clear away all the space junk?

    • NOEL

       /  January 22, 2018

      Rocket lab is aiming for the Low earth orbit (LEO) where satellites at the end of their life tend to have a degrading orbit and eventually burn out in the atmosphere.

  4. Joe Bloggs

     /  January 22, 2018

    Just like that, Rocket Lab sets a new bar for launch by reaching orbit on just their second test. Then the icing on the cake: they deployed a customer payload!

    It speaks heaps about their capabilities.

  5. Zedd

     /  January 22, 2018

    cooool, indeed 🙂

    • Gezza

       /  January 22, 2018

      I posted the launch video in OF last night. I loved it! Down-facing vid cam lets you watch the whole launch, burn, & climb to the deployment of payload at orbital height. Wheee to Whoopee! 👍🏼

      • Gezza

         /  January 22, 2018

        Tracking data published by the U.S. military indicated the rocket reached an orbit between 179 miles and 331 miles (289-533 kilometers) above Earth, flying around the planet at an angle of 82.9 degrees to the equator.

        “We flew right down the middle of our trajectory lines, and not only went into orbit, but went into orbit at a much greater accuracy than even our commercial requirement,” Beck said. “We’re very happy with the flight.”

        The U.S. military’s catalog of human-launched objects in orbit also included other items attributed to the Electron flight in a more circular orbit more than 300 miles (about 500 kilometers). A Rocket Lab spokesperson said the company will release information in the coming days about additional items carried on the launch.

        Interesting. From the Spaceflight Now site’s article.

  6. lurcher1948

     /  January 22, 2018

    I was with them till the yank voice said america this and america that , ie yanks just taking NZ over again, its only rocket lab being given NZ like LOTR by national. Hell has National given the USA rights to our females if theres money in it for national….

  7. Blazer

     /  January 23, 2018

    with Lockheed involved there is a possibility..this launch site and the research could have a military aspect Govt throwing in $25mil…suggests so..too.