Startup Rocket Lab puts 6 small satellites into orbit

Pablo Tucker
November 13, 2018

The mission is called "It's Business Time" and sees six satellites, plus a technology demonstrator, being sent to Low Earth Orbit.

American private space company Rocket Lab first launched commercial rocket.

On a late Sunday afternoon in New Zealand, Rocket Lab successfully launched its third rocket.

"We're thrilled to be leading the small satellite launch industry by reaching orbit a second time and deploying more payloads", he continued.

The rocket dubbed "It's Business Time" took off just before 5 pm local time from a spaceport in New Zealand.

The launch was commanded and monitored from the Mission Control Centre in Rocket Lab's new Mount Wellington factory, which was opened by Star Trek actor William Shatner and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern last month.

But rockets have not downsized, and smallsats have been forced to hitch rides with much larger payloads on powerful rockets, like SpaceX's Falcon 9 or Russia's Soyuz rocket.

Rocket Lab will use different mechanisms to raise money, and a listing, at some point, is "under evaluation", Beck says.

The launch marks the start of Rocket Lab's push towards putting a rocket into orbit each week. Customers' satellites are attached to a plate, which is then attached to the standard rocket design, helping to keep costs low and timelines to months rather than yers. While the company spent some of that time addressing issues with the Electron rocket, Beck told Ars that most of the company's work has been done to scale the company's operations.

Space Angels, a space-business investment firm, is tracking 150 small launch companies.

Second, the successful launch of Electron was held in January 2018. Rocket Lab's wants to remove these barriers to commercial space by providing frequent launch opportunities, aiming for weekly launches for commercial clients by the end of 2020 year at a cost of approximately $4.9 million.

The company's nearest competitors in the small rocket sector, including Virgin Orbit and Stratolaunch, now face even more pressure to get into orbit.

Two of them belonged to the start-up Spire and will be used to track ships, planes and weather in remote parts of the world, while Tyvak Nano-Satellite System also put up a weather satellite.

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