US commercial rocket company, Rocket Lab last night launched its low cost Electron rocket into space, carrying two Australian micro-satellites into orbit.
The Electron lifted off from the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island late evening AEST carrying Fleet Space Technologies Proxima 1 and 2 satellites.
The rocket, nick named “It’s Business Time”, reached an altitude of 500 kilometres opening up a new era when small companies can afford to send payloads into space.
Flavia Tata Nardini. Fleet Space’s CEO anxiously watching the launch exclaimed: “Nice” as the culmination of the characteristically NZ countdown.
The two satellites are part of a planned swarm of small craft to provide manufacturers and other business with communications to back Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
“We are on a mission to change Earth from Space creating a digital nervous system that will connect every single device on our planet.” said Nardini.
“We are worthy of humanity’s greatest challenges.”
The Electron rocket is only 17 metres tall, about a quarter the size of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. However a launch costs about $8 million compared to Space X’s $70 million.
Phil Brzytwa, Rocket Lab’s business development director said: I am confident there has never been one single launch that will prove out as much new satellite technology, data applications, and business plans as our SSO-A Mission!
“We have amazing customers and are thrilled to deliver them to orbit.”
Picture: Rocket Lab/Rocket Lab’s NZ launch control room.