Planet Earth is blue
From Great Mercury Island, 18km off the Coromandel Peninsula, Mark Rocket and Peter Beck of privately-owned company Rocket Lab successfully launched the 6-metre rocke Atea-1 into space. The rocket, which was carrying a 2kg payload of nearly 23,000 messages to dead people from family members around the world, reached an altitude of 100km before falling into the Pacific Ocean. It is the first time a privately-owned rocket has been launched in the southern hemisphere. Rocket was the first New Zealander to make a booking on Richard Branson’s proposed Virgin Galactic first flight. He changed his name by deed poll from Mark Stevens about seven years ago. Rocket said the feeling after the launch was “profound” and one of “pure elation, incredible”. “A lot of people were crying. It was really dramatic. The power of the rocket is just incredible,” he said.