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[yet another private US rocket company] Space Startup Rocket Lab Is Preparing For Its First Launch

Hamartia Antidote

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkna...-preparing-for-its-first-launch/#12c41b9a2c52


Rocket Lab's Electron rocket at its private launch facility (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Small satellite launch company Rocket Lab is getting ready for launch. The company announced today that the first of its Electron rockets has arrived at its launch complex in New Zealand. Its arrival commences a series of test items that need to be crossed off before the company embarks on its first test flight.

The rocket, dubbed It's A Test will be the first of three rockets the company plans to launch to orbit before beginning its commercial launches for customers. If successful, these will also be the first rockets launched to orbit from New Zealand.


Rocket Lab launch complex (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab's approach to building rockets is a unique one. While most rockets are built by hand, Rocket Lab's approach is mass production of rockets. The Electron is composed of carbon composites that are both lightweight and strong. The rocket's engine is primarily constructed with 3D-printed components and can be put together in a few days. The combination of materials, scale and method enables to company to offer low prices on launch for its customers.

"Through the innovative use of new technologies our team has created a launch vehicle designed for manufacture at unprecedented scale," said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab's CEO in a statement. "Our ultimate goal is to change our ability to access space."

 

patero

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It's US/New Zealand funded, based in New Zealand and founded by New Zealand 2016 entrepreneur of the year Peter Brock. It's New Zealand developed technology, Peter Brock developed the Rutherford engine for the Atea-1 rocket which achieved sub-orbit in 2009 prior to US investment in 2013.
 

Hamartia Antidote

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It's US/New Zealand funded, based in New Zealand and founded by New Zealand 2016 entrepreneur of the year Peter Brock. It's New Zealand developed technology, Peter Brock developed the Rutherford engine for the Atea-1 rocket which achieved sub-orbit in 2009 prior to US investment in 2013.
It's Peter Beck and you are correct. https://www.rocketlabusa.com/about-us/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutherford_(rocket_engine)

it is based in the US though
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocket_Lab
 
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patero

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Whoops, I meant Peter Beck. Peter Brock was an Aussie racing driver.

The 'parent' company is based in the US (largely for marketing purposes to attract investors and customers), the engineering, testing and fabrication are done here in Auckland New Zealand. Most of its staff are in Auckland, and the launch site has also been recently confirmed at Wairoa Bay (New Zealand).

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11432396

The New Zealand Government funded $25 million, and it's also backed by one of New Zealand's leading retail entrepreneurs Stephen Tindall. Controlling interest in the company is still in the hands of New Zealanders.

Kiwi parochialism aside, it's quite an achievement for any company or nation to develop a rocket that will launch a max 150 kg payload up to 500km orbit for US $5 million. The average using current launch platforms is something like $120 US million. Orders for launch deliveries can also be made apparently with only a few weeks notice, in the US it takes at least a year. Part of the reason for the short lead time is New Zealand's relatively isolated location and low population with much less air and surface traffic than most nations.
 

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