|Headquarters||Auckland Airport, New Zealand|
|Peter Beck, CEO|
The first launch of the Ātea-1 (Māori for 'space') suborbital sounding rocket occurred in late 2009. The 6-metre (20 ft) long rocket weighing 60 kg is designed to carry a 2 kg payload to an altitude of 120 km. It was intended to carry scientific payloads or possibly personal items.[dated info]
Electron launch vehicle
In July 2014 it was announced that the company is developing a rocket called Electron, a carbon composite rocket with a payload to orbit of 110 kilograms (240 lb) and a projected cost of less than US$5 million per launch. As of July 2014[update], the first test launch is planned for 2015.
In April 2015, the company announced the details of the Electron's Rutherford engines. This engine uses pumps that are uniquely powered by battery-powered electric motors rather than a gas generator, expander, or preburner. The engine is also fabricated largely by 3D printing, via electron beam melting, whereby layers of metal powder are melted in a high vacuum by an electron beam rather than a laser.
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