Monday, November 30, 2009

NZ rocket launches into space

Peter Beck (left) and Mark Rocket [Doug Sherring / NZH]

New Zealand's first space rocket has launched this afternoon.

The Atea-1 took off from its launch site at Great Mercury Island just before 3pm, after technical problems delayed this morning's planned launch.

The launch company, Rocket Lab Ltd, started up three years ago with the aim to develop a series of Atea rockets that would make space more accessible, company director Mark Rocket said last week.

"This is the first step in a long journey," he said.

The 6-metre-long craft should reach speeds of up to Mach 5, flying 120km into the air, before splashing down in the sea, where it will be picked up.

It is the first time in the southern hemisphere a privately owned company has launched a rocket to space.

Read the story HERE.

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