If you’re going to build a brand new rocket launch site, you might as well locate it in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Rocket Lab, a new private spaceflight company, did just that when it constructed its new facility in New Zealand. It plans to start launching its small Electron rocket off this picturesque cliff in Mahia, about 350 miles southeast of Auckland, as early as Wednesday for its first-ever test flight.
The company has been forced to call off multiple launch attempts over the last few days due to poor weather conditions, but this first launch appropriately named “it’s a test” by the company could take flight any day through June 1.
Once the Electron does launching, it will mark the first real demo of the Rocket Lab launcher, which they hope will help reduce the cost of get small spacecrafts to space for corporations around the world.
“This is a significant milestone for Rocket Lab and the space industry globally, ” Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s CEO, said in a statement.
“We are about to enter the next phase of the Electron program, which will see the culmination of years of job from our dedicated squad here at Rocket Lab.”
Eventually, the company hopes to have multiple launching sites in the U.S. as well as its website in New Zealand. The place isn’t random, since the country’s place is a great place to launch payloads into polar orbits.
Rocket Lab isn’t the only corporation trying to get into the small launcher business. Companies like Virgin Galactic are hoping to use small rockets or even plane-based launchers to get smaller payloads to orbit for paying customers.
And there seems to be quite a market for those kinds of launches.
At the moment, anyone hoping to launching small spacecrafts like small Earth-imaging tools for instance are really simply able to do that as secondary payloads on larger rockets launching bigger satellites.
Rocket Lab is likewise changing up the style rides on their rockets are booked.
The company allows customers to actually book their rides to space online use a special, easy-to-use web portal.
It’s that kind of startup mindset that’s changing the stodgy spaceflight industry. Historically, access to space has been open to governments hoping to send their expensive wares to orbit, but that’s starting to change thanks to the booming commercial space sector.
Now small companies and even students are starting to find ways of launching their spacecrafts to orbit thanks to new launching companies.
From SpaceX to Rocket Lab, these firms are working to lower the cost of launching to space in order to make their spaceflight dreamings a reality.
For Rocket Lab, that dream depends a great deal on how this exam goes.