The whole atmosphere of Auckland clad, New Zealand’s Rocket Lab turned into a stomping ground for its denizens when the nation’s third consecutive rocket was launched into space.
On a late Sunday afternoon dozens of employees gathered at the company’s headquarters in Auckland clad in Rocket Lab’s black-and-red colors and let out a series of primordial screams as the rocket took off, flew into space and dropped its satellite payload into orbit.
While issues had delayed this launch for months, Sunday’s event went off without a hitch. Rocket Lab has now established itself in the lead position of a frenetic, worldwide competition to change the economics and speed at which people can get things into space.
“It’s game on,” said Peter Beck, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, in an interview outside of Rocket Lab’s mission control in Auckland. “This era has been coming and coming. Well, the small launch race is over. We have proven it can be done.”
The rocket dubbed “It’s Business Time” took off just before 5 pm local time from a spaceport in New Zealand.
It carried six satellites into low earth orbit. Two of them belonged to the start-up Spire and will be used to track ships, planes and weather in remote parts of the world, while Tyvak Nano-Satellite System also put up a weather satellite.