Thursday, November 19, 2009
Its not NASA and the Kennedy Space Centre, but Kiwi aerospace company ROCKET LAB...
You may have read it on Twitter - now you can read it here:
Its not Nasa and the Kennedy Space Centre, but the Kiwi aerospace company Rocket Lab. They are counting down for their historic launch of a spacebound rocket from Great Barrier island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.
The launch from a private island off the Coromandel Peninsula in about two weeks time, will be the first time a private company in the southern hemisphere has launched a space rocket.
The 'Rocket Lab' company CEO, Peter Beck, said the rocket, named Atea-1, had a 2 kg payload capacity, and expected interest from commercial interests keen to send products or services into space, or even people wanting to send personal mementoes. This project will give the scientific community its first practical alternative to conventional rockets at a significant saving in costs as it will carry minature scientific equipment.
This coming launch will be the first in a series where the primary payload will be instrumentation measuring the machine's performance.
But the highlight of this small rocket will be its use of a new low-emission hybrid fuel technology; conventional rockets use solid fuel technology. The small rocket will travel at Mach 5 to an altitude of 120 kilometers.
Perhaps the big boys will have more competition from smaller ventures in the future, as minaturised equipment becomes more popular.
Rocket Lab will be holding online auctions both for premium viewing spots on the island and for payload space on the rocket.
Rocket Lab News