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Rocket Lab begins work on Electron rocket launch site in Mahia

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Shopprice New Zealand

New Zealand company Rocket Lab has started building a launch pad near Gisborne to fire satellites into space. The site on Mahia Peninsula will be home to the first launch of Rocket Lab’s 18-metre Electron rocket designed to send satellites of up to 150 kilograms into orbit.Construction of the site will be completed in the first quarter of 2016 before test flights of Electron begin. Unveiled in 2014 but yet to be launched, the Electron is a carbon-composite rocket designed to reduce the total time it takes to launch a satellite into orbit from years to just weeks.The rocket is expected to cost less than US$5 million (NZ$7.4 million), making space more accessible.

READ MORE:
* Rocket Lab satellite launches filling up fast
* Rocket Lab company eyes East Coast launch site for satellites
* Canty’s Birdlings Flat on the back burner for Rocket Lab launch
* Rocket Lab unveils electric rocket engine

Rocket Lab had intended to use a paddock near Lake Ellesmere on Banks Peninsula for some of its launches but that was now on hold.

1450754460938A computer generated image of what Rocket Lab’s Mahia rocket launch site will look like.

Chief executive Peter Beck said the location and isolation of Mahia Peninsula on the East Coast was suitable for rocket launches.”Due to the area’s low population and New Zealand’s minimal air and sea traffic, it is possible to launch from the site at a significantly more frequent rate than other sites,” Beck said. Rocket Lab plans to launch from the Mahia site multiple times a month, he said.”A large part of being able to provide the most affordable launch service in our vehicle class is the ability to operate our own launch sites,” Beck said.Rocket Lab’s customers include National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and lunar exploration company MoonExpress.Its investors include United States aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), Khosla Ventures and Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 investment fund.

 

 

 

Ref – www.stuff.co.nz

 

 

 

 

 

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