Rocket Lab successfully launches Electron from New Zealand to Earth orbit Video

Electron during pad integration – via Rocket Lab

This is just the second test flight for Rocket Lab's Electron rocket.

Rocket Lab conducted its first launch last May when the firm put a rocket into space, but it did not reach orbit.

At approximately 2.45pm yesterday its second rocket "Still Testing" was launched from Mahia peninsula, successfully reaching orbit before deploying eight and a half minutes later.

Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck said the launch marked the beginning of a new era in commercial access to space.

The US start-up, with a subsidiary in New Zealand, first attempted to launch the rocket on Saturday, but had to interrupt the process when two rogue vessels were spotted nearby.

A further attempt in December came within two seconds of lift-off, but the countdown was aborted because of "rising liquid oxygen temperatures" that were not compatible with the afternoon's warm conditions.

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As with launch locations in the United States, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 is located on a remote area of land within New Zealand - providing increased safety and a natural barrier to curious humans. "Rocket Lab was founded on the principal of opening access to space to better understand our planet and improve life on it". Rocket Lab's Electron is in response to this growing market.

In its successful launch yesterday, the company initially said it had reached stage separation, before tweeting the rocket had successfully made it to orbit. On May 25, 2017, Rocket Lab's Electron rocket, "It's a Test" successfully launched and reached space, but the flight suffered from a communications malfunction on the ground that caused a loss of telemetry. But there has been a great demand for small rockets that can carry tiny satellites.

The firm, with the successful launch, has vowed to go into commercial operations as soon as possible.

"Electron is orbital. Successful payload deployment", the company tweeted.

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

And that means Rocket Lab can finally start launching the payloads of its long customer lineup, which includes NASA, Spaceflight, and more.

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