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SMC Alert: Rocket Lab successful launch

SMC Alert: Rocket Lab successful launch

On its second attempt this year, #Rocket Lab successfully launched three satellites into low #Earth Orbit on its Electron rocket from its New Zealand launch facility. The Electron rocket carried three small satellites into orbit for Rocket Lab customers.

"This success should instill confidence in Rocket Lab's customers, starting a busy 2018 launch schedule". Operators of tiny satellites don't have many options to get to space, and typically have to hitch rides on launches of much bigger probes.

Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck says his company delivered a mysterious object into orbit during yesterday's Electron launch - but he's not revealing exactly what just yet.

Rocket Lab had to sit out a December launch opportunity due to weather worries and technical snags.

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. During the first flight test of the vehicle, appropriately called "It's a Test", the Electron made it to space but failed to make it to orbit.

The Electron rocket, built with 3D-printed engines and a mostly composite construction, is designed for rapid manufacture and a high launch rate.

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Then Rocket Lab also had some difficulty getting this second test flight off the ground. The company tried to launch the first day of the window, but ultimately had to delay until Sunday in New Zealand, when the Electron finally took flight.

The rocket was launched from the Mahia Peninsula this afternoon. Its smaller size is meant to increase affordability and launch flexibility for customers with smaller payloads.

"Very nice launch. My heartiest congratulations to the Rocket Lab team".

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.

"We're thrilled to reach this milestone so quickly after our first test launch", Beck said.

Shortly after, it suspended launch attempts until early 2018.

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