"Its Business Time" for Rocket Lab's first commercial flight

Rocket Lab's first commercial Electron rocket lifts off from Mahia Peninsula

Rocket Lab's first commercial Electron rocket lifts off from Mahia Peninsula

Rocket Lab is another of the private space companies that have promised to make putting satellites into orbit less costly for business around the world.

Rocket Lab's Electron rocket rises from its launch pad on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula.

The Electron arced toward the south from Mahia Peninsula, riding almost 22,680kg of thrust from the Rutherford engines during a two-and-a-half minute first stage burn.

Developed in-house, Electron is two-stage rocket, with an additional optional kick-stage that can place multiple payloads into different orbits.

Earlier in the year Rocket Lab was unsuccessful in launching the rocket, following an issue with its motor controller.

Rocket Lab put seven spacecraft in orbit on Saturday with its first commercial launch, as the company grew its lead in the burgeoning small rocket industry.

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Following the launch, Founder and CEO Peter Beck tweeted, "Perfect flight". SpaceFlight Now reported the next launch will be somewhere between december 10 and december 18, 2018, citing sources with payloads on the rocket.

There was also a NABEO drag sail attached to the kickstage, built by Germany's High Performance Space Structure Systems to test a technique for deorbiting small satellites more efficiently at the end of their operating life.

The launch keeps Rocket Lab - valued at more than $1.2 billion and based in New Zealand and California - at the front of the pack in the small rocket race.

The firm completed a successful test launch with one of its Electron rockets in January when it deployed three satellites. Electron can has a maximum payload capacity of 225kg, to a nominal Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) at 500km.

On the live webcast of the launch, Rocket Lab touted the last-minute adds to its manifest as an indication of its ability to get to space quickly. The plan, according to Beck, is to try one launch per month to start in 2019, then to move to one launch every two weeks. The company's Electron rocket is created to launch spacecraft up to the size of a refrigerator, especially for the premium small satellite part of the rocket market.

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

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