Scenes of jubilation at Rocket Lab when its Electron vehicle blasts off are seen in the first footage from inside the company's Auckland mission control.

Inside the highly restricted centre, the usually publicly buttoned down company founder and chief executive, Peter Beck, is seen whooping and hollering as the 17m-tall rocket blasts. The launch pad at the tip of the Mahia Peninsula is more than 350km from Auckland.

He raises his arms in the air when the first stage successfully separates from the rocket and others in the control room celebrate.

While Beck has in the past got very enthusiastic talking about engineering and rocket science, he's not usually given to displaying much emotion in public.

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He was ecstatic last night following the launch and the rocket's three-minute journey into space even though its orbital mission was not completed.

The footage released by Rocket Lab doesn't show his reaction to the failure of the craft to reach orbit after the fairing or casing around Stage 2 successfully separates.

A planned quiet celebration turned into a "heck of a party" as the 40-year-old awarded the lift-off a 10 out of 10.

He paid tribute to his team, many rookies in the space game, who had developed the Electron and launch system in just over four years.

The range operator Shaun D'Mello was a 25-year-old "with the weight of the world on his shoulders".

Rocket Lab's Electron rocket made it to space. Photo / Screen
Rocket Lab's Electron rocket made it to space. Photo / Screen

Mission control is tightly restricted around launch time and operates under the United States' Federal Aviation Administration rules with unauthorised personnel.

There is also concern about giving away trade secrets to satellite industry competitors and countries or groups who could use the technology for weapons.

Yesterday's launch was the first of three test flights scheduled for this year. Rocket Lab will target getting to orbit on the second test and look to maximise the payload the rocket can carry.

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Peter Beck inside the mission control room.
Peter Beck inside the mission control room.

At full production, Rocket Lab expects to launch more than 50 times a year, and is regulated to launch up to 120 times a year. In comparison, there were 22 launches last year from the United States, and 82 internationally.

Airways New Zealand said the launch marked a significant step forward for New Zealand's burgeoning space and launch services industry.

"We're proud to have played a role in helping it to happen," Airways chief operating officer Pauline Lamb said.

The Electron rocket during take off.
The Electron rocket during take off.

Airways has an agreement with Rocket Lab to provide air traffic services to facilitate ongoing test and commercial operations from the world's first private orbital launch site on the peninsula.

Airways controllers managed a "special use airspace" put in place around the rocket for today's launch, protecting the area from other aircraft and limiting disruption to other airspace users.

Rocket Lab launched its rocket from Mahia Peninsula.
Rocket Lab launched its rocket from Mahia Peninsula.

While the rocket took just minutes to safely pass through New Zealand's controlled airspace, the test launch was the culmination of more than 12 months of preparations for Airways in consultation with Rocket Lab.

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"There is no doubt that the aerospace industry is evolving and Airways' primary role is about enabling safe and flexible access to controlled airspace to allow the industry to integrate and grow," Lamb said.

A scene during the Electron's launch.
A scene during the Electron's launch.