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article imageNew Zealand makes history with launch of Electron rocket

By Karen Graham     May 25, 2017 in Technology
California-based Rocket Lab successfully shot a rocket into space from their private launch facility in New Zealand on Thursday at 4:20 p.m. local time, reaching space three minutes later.
The young company has created a piece of New Zealand history with the launch of their "It's a Test" rocket off the Mahia Peninsula today, reports the New Zealand Herald.
The company had been given a launch window of May 22 to June 3 and after three scrubbed attempts, the latest being Wednesday's scrubbed launch with just 12 minutes left on the countdown clock, today proved to be "iffy" because of poor weather conditions.
But for a crowd of spectators gathered on a beach near Nuhaka all afternoon, the wait was certainly worth it. As the afternoon wore on, failing light only added to the fading hope of a launch, however, as the bright light generated by the launch became visible, the crowd erupted into cheers.
Meet  it s a Test   Rocket Lab s Electron rocket.
Meet "it's a Test," Rocket Lab's Electron rocket.
"It was a great flight," chief executive Peter Beck said in a statement after the launch, noting also that the early stages of the mission went very well, Beck added, “It has been an incredible day and I'm immensely proud of our talented team."
According to CTV News, the rocket did not reach orbit as planned but was successful in attaining the goal of the mission, itself. “We didn't quite reach orbit and we'll be investigating why - however reaching space in our first test puts us in an incredibly strong position,” Beck said.
New Zealand has never had a space program, but now that a successful launch has occurred, and on the first try, politicians are pushing through new space laws and regulations and New Zealand has set up a small space agency, another historic move, with 10 employees.
More about New Zealand, Electron, rocket launch, Rocket Lab, commercial space industry
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