Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit and deploys payloads

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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 US/New Zealand company has developed revolutionary technology which allows for rocket launches at a fraction of the price of a conventional launch.

Celebrating the launch, Rocket Lab - which was founded by Peter Beck, a New Zealander, in 2006 - called the achievement the "beginning of a new era in commercial access to space".

The payload for the launch, according to SpaceNews, included two cubesats for the data company Spire and one for Planet Labs.

The company's first test launch took place on May 25, 2017, reaching space but not achieving orbit. Rocket Lab said that if the mishap hadn't occurred, the Electron would have made it to orbit.

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California-based company Rocket Lab says its Electron rocket, which carries only a small payload of about 150 kg, successfully deployed an earth imaging and two other satellites for weather and ship tracking.

In December, Electron missed its 10-day window after delays from weather and a last second abort.

"Congratulations to the team at Rocket Lab for the successful launch of their second rocket off the Mahia Peninsula", Mr Parker says.

The company has become the second in the world to have put something in orbit, and New Zealand the 11th nation. In theory, the successful Electron flight places the completion of a lunar mission by the deadline for Moon Express inside the realm of possibility. It aims to develop a low-priced transportation system to allow customers to send payloads, first to the moon, and then to destinations throughout the solar system at an affordable price.

Rocket Lab now has five Electron vehicles in production, with the next launch expected to take place in early 2018. Eventually, the plan is to launch much more frequently, perhaps more than 50 times a year, and this weekend's test flight is a big step toward making that happen. They're thrilled to reach this milestone so quickly after their first test launch.

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