Rocket Lab makes orbit, clue to how massive stars form and last chance to apply for Auckland SAVVY
The company had attempted to launch its 'Still Testing' rocket in late 2017, but aborted seconds before launch. It's second test window opened on Saturday but launch was again delayed due to 'rogue vessels' off the Māhia coast.
on Sunday the launch was successful, with a live stream
following the rocket's launch into orbit. Three commercial
satellites on board were deployed, making it the first time
satellites had been launched from New Zealand.
University of Auckland astrophysicist Dr Nicholas Rattenbury said the launch heralded a new era in New Zealand history. "Space is hard ... to be able to send a rocket to space remains one of the most challenging technological acts we as a species can accomplish ... Rocket Lab made it look easy."
Former director of NASA launch projects for Boeing Kris Walsh said the success should "instill confidence in Rocket Lab's customers."
"The industry will be watching Rocket Lab's ability to meet schedule, but this is a milestone."
University of Auckland's Head of Physics Professor Richard Easther said it was a "red-letter day" for New Zealand.
"To put this in perspective, we are now one of just a dozen countries to have successfully built and deployed a rocket that can put satellites into orbit."
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck has since revealed the rocket carried with it a fourth, secret payload: The Humanity Star, a geodesic sphere designed to orbit Earth for the next nine months.
The SMC gathered expert reaction to the launch.