It's Business Time: Rocket Lab mission finally launches from New Zealand

After first scheduled to launch in late June, Rocket Lab's It's Business Time has successfully completed its mission.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor

New Zealand-based Rocket Lab has finally completed the It's Business Time mission, originally slated for launch in June, with seven payloads put into orbit.

The mission was the company's first commercial launch, and deployed two Spire Global Lemur-2 satellites: The Irvine CubeSat STEM Program IRVINE01 educational CubeSat, a drag sail technology demonstrator to reduce space junk designed and built by High Performance Space Structure Systems; and a GeoOptics satellite built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, as well as a pair of Proxima satellites for Fleet Space Technologies.

The company said in a blog post that the launch took place from New Zealand's Māhia Peninsula at 16:50 NZDT.

"We're thrilled to be leading the small satellite launch industry by reaching orbit a second time and deploying more payloads. The team carried out a flawless flight with incredibly precise orbital insertion," Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said.

"We have a burgeoning customer manifest, so we're moving onto the next mission within a few weeks -- the incredibly exciting ELaNa 19 mission for NASA in December."

Rocket Lab added that it has a private launch complex licensed for 120 launches each year, and previously said it aims to complete a launch each fortnight in 2019, and weekly in 2020. Its rockets use 3D-printed engines and can carry payloads of up to about 150 kilograms.

Speaking last month, Fleet said it hopes the pair of satellites will be the start of a constellation of more than 100 nanosatellites that it expects will act as a dedicated "IoT space network for enterprises across the world".

ACMA licensed Fleet to perform satellite telemetry, tracking, and command, and payload data reception across S-band and L-band frequencies. The launches of Proxima I and II will allow Fleet to test longwave and shortwave band frequencies.

"When combined with Fleet's ground terminal, the Portal, Fleet's constellation will enable satellite connectivity in remote industries where cellular networks are not present," Fleet said at the time.

At the start of 2017, Rocket Lab raised $75 million in a Series D round that valued the company at over $1 billion.

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(Image: Rocket Lab)
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