Successful New Zealand rocket launch

An Electron rocket launched from New Zealand sent three small satellites into orbit today. The launch was the second test rocket called Still Testing. The first test rocket launched successfully in May last year but did not quite reach orbit. Another attempt in December was cancelled after engineers lost contact at 224km.

Today’s success came after many delays caused by weather. Today, the weather was ideal, and it took just 8 and a half minutes for the rocket to reach orbit. It carried satellites belonging to US companies which will use these satellites for tracking ships and weather.

Rocket Lab which launched the 17m rocket, is a US company based in New Zealand. The chief executive Peter Beck, is a New Zealander. The launch site is a remote site next to a paddock of sheep on the Mahia peninsula, in northern Hawkes Bay. It is the first private launch pad in the world.

Peter Beck said today that the company hoped to be launching a rocket every month. It can carry one 150kg satellite or a number of smaller ones. The cost of sending a satellite into orbit is cheaper here than anywhere else in the world.

For more information, go to the Rocket Lab website.


• ideal – perfect
• tracking – following and recording
• remote – located far from people and houses

Correction 21.01.18

The end of the first paragraph, is not quite accurate – the December launch was cancelled a few seconds before launch because of a power failure. It was then postponed until January 2018.

Apologies for my error.

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