Rocket Lab makes history with 1st successful commercial launch

Rocket Lab to Attempt Second Launch as Early as Tonight

An Electron rocket built by the commercial startup Rocket Lab successfully launched on its second test flight from New Zealand, carrying the company's first customer payloads into orbit.

A U.S. venture firm, Rocket Lab, has put 3 small satellites into orbit.

The Electron rocket, named Still Testing, took off from Mahia, on the east coast of the North Island, at 2.45pm (local time) on Sunday and reached orbit eight minutes later.

In the coming weeks, Rocket Lab engineers would analyse data from the launch. So Rocket Lab set a new nine-day launch window in January.

Beck says the company will continue to base launches out of New Zealand, saying "right now we have all the capacity we need".

Rocket Lab said previously that the results of the "Still Testing" launch, if the rocket "performs nominally", may cause the company to accelerate the Electron program into commercial use.

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The Electron can carry up to about 225 kg of payload. The company is also slated to launch a lunar lander for the company Moon Express, which hopes to mine the Moon for resources someday. Its smaller size is meant to increase affordability and launch flexibility for customers with smaller payloads. Its goals go beyond winning a prize competition.

"Once again, we're expecting to scrub multiple times as we wait for flawless conditions and make sure everything on the vehicle is performing as it should", said Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab.

Plus, it's unclear when Rocket Lab will launch next and which customer the company will fly. "We're thrilled to reach this milestone so quickly after our first test launch".

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.

The company had conducted several launch attempts in December which failed to take off.

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