Over the moon about launch deal

By Victoria White

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Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck with the Electron Launch vehicle, which is scheduled to begin launches from Northern Hawke's Bay next year.
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck with the Electron Launch vehicle, which is scheduled to begin launches from Northern Hawke's Bay next year.

Rocket Lab's newest customer is one of many preparing for lift-off from the Mahia Peninsula, says Wairoa District Mayor Craig Little.

This morning the Auckland-based company announced it had signed a Launch Services Agreement with satellite imaging company Planet for at least three dedicated launches on the Electron launch vehicle.

Planet will utilise the $5 million rocket's full capacity for each of the launches.

They are scheduled to begin next year from New Zealand's first orbital launch site on Mahia Peninsula - which Rocket Lab is currently constructing.

Mr Craig Little said developments around the launch site were very exciting for the community.

While he was pleased there were now four customers signed with Rocket Lab, he thought this number was a "drop in the ocean" compared with how many would come on board once launches began.

"It's really going to take off once [Rocket Lab] have proved they what they can do," he said.

Planet joins NASA, Spire and Moon Express as customers announced to fly on Electron.

The company, which has offices in San Francisco, Canada, and Germany, designs and operates "the world's most capable constellation of Earth-imaging satellites".

With more than 100 satellites already launched, the data generated by Planet's constellation of Dove satellites has a range of commercial and humanitarian uses, including generating up-to-date maps, measuring global crop yields, and providing intelligence for disaster response.

The agreement with Rocket Lab will see Electron used to expand and replenish the existing on-orbit fleet of Dove satellites.

Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said: "Rocket Lab's priority for Electron has always been to enable our customers by providing the affordable and frequent service they need to meet their objectives.

"We look forward to working with Planet, who share our vision of seeing space infrastructure enhance how we use and understand our planet."

Earlier this year, Wairoa District Council announced they would be pursuing a bid for the company to base a manufacturing facility in the district.

However, Mr Little said he understood Rocket Lab were at a vital stage in their development process, and would wait until rockets began launching before making any decisions on the matter.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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