A former Rotorua man said it was a surreal feeling to have been part of a team to launch the first rocket into space from a launch pad in New Zealand.
Last week, Ben Malcolm watched in awe as Rocket Lab's Electron rocket cleared the tower at Mahia Peninsula on the North Island's East Coast.
The 17m-tall rocket didn't make it into orbit as planned, but it made it to space with Mr Malcolm saying the adrenaline rush took a long time to wear off.
Back in 2013 Mr Malcolm worked with Team New Zealand in San Francisco during their unfortunate America's Cup campaign.
The 34-year-old former Rotorua Lakes High School student has been working as composite team manager for Rocket Lab for three years and is responsible for the carbon fibre structural build and assembly of the vehicle.
"Out of carbon fibre and other materials, we build everything from tanks through to the smallest of brackets.
"When I started at Rocket Lab, there were only around 15 fulltime employees, now there are more than 150 across the globe," he said.
"It [the launch] was one of the most surreal moments I think I've ever experienced. The adrenaline rush took some time to ease off afterwards but what quickly sank in is that the years of early mornings and late nights had finally paid off."
The company's full name is Rocket Lab USA and it is majority-owned by Americans and registered in the United States, but retains its Kiwi origins.
Former Invercargill engineer Peter Beck is founder and chief executive of Rocket Lab and is planning two more test launches before the company can go into full production mode.
Mr Beck told NZME they were one of just a few companies to develop a rocket from scratch "and we did it in under four years".
"To get as far as we did on the first test flight doesn't often happen," he said.
Mr Malcolm said their aim was to be an industry leader.
"It's great to be part of a company like Rocket Lab, which are constantly pushing aside the boundaries and what is considered the norm.
"We build most of the vehicle and facilities from the ground up - something that I believe has only been achieved thanks to the 'can-do' Kiwi attitude and the kind of belief that you get from overcoming some very real obstacles along the way.
"Everyone wants a memory to look back on like this.
"They want a claim to a piece of history, whether it be on the New Zealand stage or beyond. This was a pretty great one and I'm very proud of everyone involved."