Watch Rocket Lab send its first commercial rocket to space

Rocket Lab to Launch 1st Commercial Mission Tonight Watch It Live

Watch Rocket Lab send its first commercial rocket to space

Rocket Lab recently moved into a new headquarters in Auckland where it has both mission control and a factory for producing rockets. The first rocket launch occurred in may 2017, but due to a failure in the telemetry system it failed.

Although the going-rate for deliveries is much lower for SpaceX, customers are flocking to Rocket Lab for reduced wait time and speedier deliveries.

Just as cell phones have shrunk, similar technological advancements have made satellites smaller and more capable. While the Electron rocket is designed for lower cost access to space, its smaller size does mean that the payload size is limited.

Smallsat companies are often forced to wait long periods for free space aboard a rocket. Rocket Lab has now established itself in the lead position of a frenetic, worldwide competition to change the economics and speed at which people can get things into space.

One of Rocket Lab's customers, Australian startup Fleet Space Technologies, launched two Proxima satellites that will provide IoT device connectivity for the Earth's most remote locations.

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.

If all goes according to plan, "It's Business Time" will deliver six small satellites to Earth orbit, about 310 miles (500 kilometers) above our planet. Sunday's launch follows the success of its second test flight in January, where it deployed three satellites.

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"That's really what it's all about. We've always been very bold and not too shy to say that we hope to be launching to space the most often of anybody in the world".

There are many budding competitors to Rocket Lab (they include a Richard Branson effort that will launch rockets an "airborne platform" - or a modified Boeing 747). The two-stage version has a height of 17m and a diameter of 1.2m, and is powered by Rutherford engines.

Ten months have passed since that flight.

Now the company intends to attempt a final commercial launch this year, before setting an ambitious goal of 16 launches for the year 2019.

To date, Rocket Lab has raised US$148 million from investors betting that it could end up as the FedEx of space.

Vector, the brainchild of former SpaceX executive Cantrell, is also planning an inaugural orbital flight within the next few months.

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