Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

Rocket Lab signs up new space launch customer

Rocket scientist Peter Beck, chief executive and founder of aerospace comapny Rocket Lab. Photo / Geoff Dale
Rocket scientist Peter Beck, chief executive and founder of aerospace comapny Rocket Lab. Photo / Geoff Dale

Rocket Lab has signed up satellite company Spire to fly its equipment on up to 12 missions into orbit later this year and throughout 2017.

Spire uses small satellites to provide weather and maritime data and will be launched aboard Rocket Lab's Electron rocket.

Rocket Lab is building a launch pad and other facilities at the tip of the Mahia Peninsula, south of Gisborne.

Rocket Lab launch pad moves to Mahia
NZ rocket company signs deal to fly to the moon
Rocket Lab unveils world's first battery rocket engine
Big lift for Kiwi rocket firm

The Auckland-based company has two other customers for its service which promises to cut the slash the cost of small satellite launches.

Spire has offices in San Francisco, Glasgow and Singapore and specialises in maritime surveillance.

Improved maritime data has positive implications for services including search and rescue, combating cargo piracy, monitoring illegal fishing and trade at large.

Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck said his company was focused on enabling customers "to achieve amazing things. Spire are quick thinkers and world-class problem solvers."

The Electron rocket makes extensive use of carbon fibre, new battery technology and 3-D printing to cut weight and reduce cost.

At 18m tall, Electron is capable of delivering a 150kg payload to a 500km sun-synchronous orbit.

Spire are quick thinkers and world-class problem solvers.

Rocket Lab's Electron vehicle was created to provide frequent, affordable launch opportunities for the growing small satellite market. Like many technologies, satellites have continued to decrease in size creating the need for smaller rockets.

Beck said the Mahia launch site has the ability to facilitate a rapid rate of launches and a wider range of orbital inclinations than any other site in the world.

Spire joins NASA and Moon Express as customers recently signed to fly on Electron launch vehicles.

Rocket Lab was formed nine years ago and is a privately funded American company, with major investors including Khosla Ventures, K1W1, Bessemer Venture Partners and Lockheed Martin.

See a Google Map showing the Mahia Peninsula Rocketlab launch site here:

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter


© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf03 at 02 Mar 2017 09:28:44 Processing Time: 873ms