Watch: Rocket Lab launch site nears completion

By Aimee Shaw

Rocket Lab's space programme is a step closer to liftoff with the installation of a launch platform at its Mahia Peninsula base.

The 50-tonne platform is the final step in preparing the site for the arrival of its Electron launch vehicle and will be used to erect the rocket from horizontal to vertical positions.

Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck said launch frequency and availability was a big challenge for its customers.

"We consistently see launch frequency and availability as one of the biggest challenges our customers face. Making low Earth orbit accessible is key to democratising space for both commercial and humanitarian applications."

The launch platform was designed in-house at Rocket Lab and transported from Auckland to Mahia, with local contractors hired to complete site works.

"With major infrastructure now in place, and as we begin to prepare for the arrival of the vehicle, more of our engineering team will be based in Mahia - they are enjoying the continued welcome from the local community, as well as the view," Beck said.

New Zealand's remote location and low population density provide ideal conditions for frequent orbital launches. The Mahia Peninsula site is the first private site in the world.

Rocket Lab's Electron rocket is 16 metres in length and has a total lift-off mass of 12,800 kilograms.

Test launches from the site are scheduled to commence in coming months.

Last month the Auckland-based company signed a deal to send at least three satellites to space from its Mahia peninsula base.

- NZ Herald

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