Rocket Lab

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Rocket Lab Ltd.
Type Private
Headquarters Auckland, New Zealand
Key people

Peter Beck, CEO

homepage = Official website

Rocket Lab Ltd. is a New Zealand firm that designs and fabricates sounding rockets and propulsion systems.

The first launch of the Ātea-1 (Māori for 'space') suborbital sounding rocket was scheduled for late 2009. The 6m long rocket weighing 60 kg is designed to carry a 2 kg payload to an altitude of 120 km.[1] It is intended to carry scientific payloads or possibly personal items.[2][3]

Atea-1 was successfully launched from Great Mercury Island near Coromandel on 30 November 2009 at 2:30pm after fueling problems delayed the scheduled 7.10am liftoff.[4]

A larger Ātea-2 series rocket is reported to be under development.[5]

In December 2010 Rocket Lab was awarded a US contract from the Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS) to study low cost a space launcher to place nano-satellites into orbit.[6][7][8][9]

Some funding has been obtained from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. Former Crown Research scientist Peter Beck is founder, CEO and Technical Director. Internet entrepreneur Mark Rocket was the seed investor and co-Director from 2006 to 2011. [10]


  1. ^ Ātea-1 technical specifications
  2. ^ "Rocket project gears for take off". The New Zealand Herald. 15 August 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  3. ^ Goldsmith, Rob (16 November 2009). "Rocket lab primed to launch new zealand’s first rocket into space". Space Fellowship website. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  4. ^ "NZ's first space launch saved by $6 replacement part". The New Zealand Herald. 30 November 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Ātea-2 technical specifications
  6. ^ Rocket Lab News, Webarchive: "December 2010 - Rocket Lab was awarded a US contract from the Operationally Responsive Space Office (ORS) to study low cost international alternatives. Included in this study is a 640,000Ns booster, a miniature avionics system and a launch vehicle to place small mass satellites into polar and low Earth orbits."
  7. ^ "Rocket Research & Development Based in New Zealand". Rocket Lab. Retrieved 2012-10-09. 
  8. ^ "New Zealand Rocketry Association (NZRA) - Rocketry Links". Retrieved 2012-10-09. 
  9. ^ "NZ set to join the space age". NZPA. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Mark Rocket

External links[edit]