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posted by Fnord666 on Friday May 26 2017, @02:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the more-the-merrier dept.

"Made it to space. Team delighted. More to follow!" the U.S. company, founded by New Zealander Peter Beck, tweeted at 4:29 p.m. New Zealand time Thursday. It is the first test of the company's Electron Rocket from New Zealand, a country of just 4.7 million people deep in the South Pacific.

Rocket Lab aims to build a New Zealand base from which to launch small satellites into low orbit. The country is considered a prime location because rockets originating deep in the Southern Hemisphere can reach a wide range of Earth orbits.

[...] With a height of 17 meters and a diameter of 1.2 meters, and 3D-printed engines, the Electron Rocket is capable of carrying a maximum payload of 225 kilograms, according to Rocket Lab, whose investors include Lockheed Martin Corp.


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  • (Score: 2) by novak on Friday May 26 2017, @06:23PM

    by novak (4683) on Friday May 26 2017, @06:23PM (#516065) Homepage

    In fact, it's expensive to launch rockets into orbits whose inclination is less than the latitude of the launch site, which is one reason why commercial satellites tend to get launched near the equator. So there are a lot of orbits for which New Zealand is a *lousy* launch site. It might be OK for certain kinds of polar orbits, but no better than any other site far from the equator.

    Some satellites are launched from near the equator, but many are not. Many of those benefiting from a equatorial launch are large comsats and the like headed out to geostationary orbits. Many of the small satellites which fit in a 225kg to LEO orbit are going into polar orbits.

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