Rocket Lab sends first test payload into orbit, Airways NZ able to support a launch every 10 minutes

    Rocket Lab, a New Zealand based commercial space company, launched (21-Jan-2018) a test payload into orbit. The ‘Electron’ orbital launch vehicle reached orbit and deployed customer payloads at eight minutes and 31 seconds after lift off. Rocket Lab CEO and founder Peter Beck said: “Reaching orbit on a second test flight is significant on its own, but successfully deploying customer payloads so early in a new rocket programme is almost unprecedented”. Rocket Lab currently has five Electron vehicles in production, with the next launch expected to take place in early 2018. At full production, Rocket Lab expects to launch more than 50 times p/a, and is regulated to launch up to 120 times p/a, more than any other commercial or government launch provider. Airways New Zealand, via its official Twitter account, reposted (22-Jan-2018) a report with commentary for Airways GM Tim Boyle (Newstalk ZB, 22-Jan-2018). He said the ANSP could handle a launch every 10 minutes, adding: “We can facilitate whatever schedule Rocket Lab really wants to throw at us and if Peter’s set that goal of stripping the United States of rocket launches for a year, gosh, we’d love to help support him and see that come to fruition”. [more – original PR