Rocket Lab marks new milestone with first-ever NZ built and launched satellite

Friday marked a new milestone for Kiwi space company Rocket Lab, as it launched its first-ever New Zealand-made operational satellite into orbit.

The successful launch paves the way for Rocket Lab to act as a one-stop-shop, building and launching satellites for any company who wants to utilise the power of space. 

It looked like a regular launch, but for Rocket Lab it was something even more special. Not only did it launch a satellite for client Capella Space,  it also launched a design of its own.

"This really represents the next step in really lowering the barriers for people to be able to access space," founder and CEO Peter Beck said.

That's because, perhaps unsurprisingly, building and getting a satellite to space is no simple task; it's time-consuming and expensive, often with multiple companies involved at different stages.  

Now, Rocket Lab can do it all. 

"One-stop shop - you come to Rocket Lab, we will build you a satellite, we'll launch you a satellite, we'll operate your satellite."

Taking out all that legwork means even more opportunities have opened up. 

"You just come to Rocket Lab and you might say, 'Hey, we need to monitor soil temperatures over the Canterbury plains', and we just go 'OK'."

Peter Beck says it's the next evolution, and this 'homegrown' satellite represents something much more exciting. 

"This is just not 'New Zealand has put up one satellite'. Yes, we've done that, but this is an entirely new way of using space."

It could also be used for interplanetary missions, with Rocket Lab hoping to take it to Venus.