Former America's Cup boat builders are to join rocket scientists in their work on launching more rockets soon from Northern Hawke's Bay.

In May Rocket Lab completed its first test launch from its site on Mahia Peninsula - becoming the first orbital-class rocket to lift off from a private launch site in the world.

Now the rocket maker - on track for a second test launch in the coming months - is employing workers involved in the Team New Zealand campaign for its advanced composites work.

"We're employing so many people at the moment it's hard to keep up," said Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck.


"I know last week in the Monday meeting I welcomed five new starters."

Rocket Lab's 17m-tall Electron Rocket is made of carbon fibre similar to that used in Team New Zealand's boat. Last week it was revealed that 40 workers involved in building the America's Cup-winning catamaran last year had lost their jobs at Southern Spars.

The composites team at the Auckland-based rocket maker is led by Ben Malcolm, who worked with Team New Zealand on the last boat for their Cup campaign, in San Francisco in 2013.

Including contractors and part-timers, there are about 25 in Rocket Lab's composites team, a third of whom had worked with Team NZ.

Mr Beck said top boat builders could transfer their skills to the space industry.

"It's really about craftsmanship. The America's Cup is very high end and has beautiful craftsmanship [but] not all boat builders would assimilate perfectly into building into space components," he said.

"You've got to be at the top of your game to work in the America's Cup and at the top of your game to work at Rocket Lab."

About 170 people work for Rocket Lab at its Auckland base, its Mahia launch site and its corporate headquarters in Los Angeles.


Mr Beck said data from their first launch - which did not make it into orbit - had made clear what had gone wrong.

The company and its investors were confident in the programme and have a further five rockets in various stages of production.

Mr Beck said the second test launch was about two or three months away and the company hoped to get once-a-month launches under way as soon as possible.