Commercial rocket from New Zealand reaches orbit

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This weekend, United States spaceflight startup Rocket Lab successfully launched its second Electron rocket for a crucial flight test - and reached orbit for the first time. Companies specializing in nano-satellites are limited when trying to find a launch company, and usually, have to hitch rides on launches of much bigger probes. Rocket Lab had counted all the way down to T-minus 2 seconds, when Beck says Electron automatically aborted. The Electron makes use of carbon composite materials for its rocket core, and 3-D printing techniques for its Rutherford rocket engines. The nine-day launch window opened Friday at 5:30 p.m. The second flight, called "Still Testing", will attempt to place three satellites into orbit, an Earth-imaging Dove satellite for the company Planet, as well as two Lemur-2 weather and ship tracking satellites for Spire Global.

New Zealand officially joined the ranks of commercial space-faring nations on Sunday and made history at the same time.

"Very nice launch. My heartiest congratulations to the Rocket Labs team".

The Electron can carry up to about 225 kg of payload.

Moon Express's dream of a private lunar landing closer to reality. It aims to develop a low-priced transportation system to allow customers to send payloads, first to the moon, and then to destinations throughout the solar system at an affordable price. Its goals go beyond winning a prize competition.

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Plus, it's unclear when Rocket Lab will launch next and which customer the company will fly.

Founded by Peter Beck, a citizen of New Zealand, the Rocket Lab's journey into the commercial space market began 11 years ago.

"We're thrilled to reach this milestone so quickly after our first test launch", Beck said.

Shortly after, it suspended launch attempts until early 2018.

The company hopes to begin commercial launches next year and eventually launch one rocket every week.

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