By 3 News online staff
New Zealand-based Rocket Lab says it has completed its series B funding round, and now has investment from Bessemer Venture Partners and US aerospace giant Lockheed Martin.
The new funding means Rocket Lab could be ready to commercialise its operations from as early as next year, says founder Peter Beck.
"Bessemer Venture Partners… actively invests in space startups and Lockheed Martin, an aerospace powerhouse with a deep history in space systems, has been instrumental in all major American space endeavours over the last century," says Mr Beck. "We are thrilled to have these global space institutions as part of the Rocket Lab team."
Mr Beck hopes to make New Zealand the ninth nation to ever put a satellite into orbit. If all goes to plan, Mr Beck's company Rocket Lab will send a satellite into orbit from New Zealand by the end of the year, using its Electron rocket system – said to cost a fraction of the price of other satellite launch options.
"Rocket Lab will be the second company in the history of the planet to have put something into orbit," Mr Beck says. "It usually takes a government and a nation a decade to get it right – it's tricky, but it's important."
He says more details about the company's planned launches will be revealed in April.
"Rocket Lab's work could have application in a number of aerospace domains, and we look forward to working with them to complement our overall efforts in small lift capabilities and hypersonic flight technologies," says Lockheed Martin's chief scientist, Ned Allen.
Mr Beck was named New Zealand Innovator of the Year last week.
He says before he started Rocket Lab he had spent about a month in the United States where he realised he could only be work as "a small gear in a giant machine".
Watch the video for Tony Field's full interview.
source: newshub archive