On Thursday, shortly after midnight on the US East Coast, a New Zealand-based rocket company launched an orbital-class rocket from a private launch site for the first time. While relatively small, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle stands at the vanguard of a new class of launchers designed to place increasingly tiny satellites into space.
Among competitors such as Virgin Orbit and Vector Space Systems, which are late in the development stage, it is the first small satellite launch company to put a full-size rocket into space.
“We’re one of a few companies to ever develop a rocket from scratch and we did it in under four years,” said Peter Beck, chief executive and founder of Rocket Lab. “We’ve worked tirelessly to get to this point. We’ve developed everything in house, built the world’s first private orbital launch range, and we’ve done it with a small team.”
Read 4 remaining paragraphs