NZ Launches Into Space Race With 3D-Printed Rocket

Rocket Lab, a Silicon Valley-funded space launch company, has just launched the maiden flight of its battery-powered, 3D-printed rocket Electron from New Zealand’s remote Mahia Peninsula.

“Made it to space. Team delighted,” Rocket Lab said on its official Twitter account.

The successful launch of a low cost, 3D-printed rocket is an important step in the commercial race to bring down financial and logistical barriers to space while also making New Zealand an unlikely space hub.

The Los Angeles and New Zealand-based rocket firm has touted its service as a way for companies to get satellites into orbit regularly.

“Our focus with the Electron has been to develop a reliable launch vehicle that can be manufactured in high volumes. Our ultimate goal is to make space accessible by providing an unprecedented frequency of launch opportunities,” Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck said.

Rocket Lab’s customers include NASA, earth-imaging firm Planet and startups Spire and Moon Express.

The firm will carry out two more tests before it starts commercial operations, slated to begin towards the end of this year.

Original article by Reuters, The Guardian, May 25, 2017.

Photo by Rocket Lab/AP.

Tags: Electron  Guardian (The)  Mahia Peninsula  NASA  Rocket Lab  

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