Commercial rocket from New Zealand deploys small satellites

In this photo provided by Rocket Lab, Electron rocket carrying only a small payload of about 150 kilograms (331 pounds), lifts off from the Mahia Peninsula on New Zealand's North Island's east coast. The rocket launched from New Zealand on Sunday successfully reached orbit carrying small commercial satellites. (Rocket Lab via AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — A rocket launched from New Zealand on Sunday successfully reached orbit carrying small commercial satellites.

California-based company Rocket Lab said its Electron rocket, which carries only a small payload of about 150 kilograms (331 pounds), successfully deployed an earth imaging and two other satellites for weather and ship tracking after blastoff from the Mahia Peninsula on North Island's east coast.

Company CEO and founder Peter Beck, a New Zealander, said the launch marks the beginning of a new era in commercial access to space. He said that deploying customer payloads on a second test flight "is almost unprecedented."

The company last May reached space with its first test launch, only to abort the mission due to a communication glitch. It has official approval to conduct three test launches and sees an emerging market in delivering small devices, some as big as a smartphone, into orbit.

The satellites would be used for everything from monitoring crops to providing internet service.

Similar News

IMF, Egypt agree on $12B loan to fix ailing economy

Aug 11, 2016

The International Monetary Fund says it will grant Egypt a $12 billion loan over three years to help the Arab world's most populous country mend its ailing economy following years of unrest

Ali tribute book to be released by Jeter imprint

Aug 11, 2016

A very great athlete will help pay tribute to "The Greatest": Derek Jeter's publishing imprint is set to release "Muhammad Ali Unfiltered." Publication is scheduled for October

Applications for US unemployment aid slip to a low 266,000

Aug 11, 2016

Applications for US unemployment benefits declined last week as companies hold onto workers

Broaden