Spaceflight startup Rocket Lab sends its Electron rocket to orbit for the first time

This weekend, US spaceflight startup Rocket Lab successfully launched its second Electron rocket for a crucial flight test — and reached orbit for the first time. The Electron took off from the company’s New Zealand launch facility at 2:43PM local time on Sunday (or 8:43PM ET on Saturday), and about eight and a half minutes later, the rocket deployed three small commercial satellites. It marks the first time the Electron has completed a full mission, and that may mean Rocket Lab is ready to start commercial flights of the vehicle.

“Reaching orbit on a second test flight is significant on its own, but successfully deploying customer payloads so early in a new rocket program is almost unprecedented,” Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s CEO, said in…

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Chinese booster rocket nearly smashes into a small town

Space agencies prefer to launch near the sea or over empty land when given the choice, and China just got a reminder as to why. A booster from a Long March 3B rocket dropped and exploded near the small southwestern town of Xiangdu, roughly 435 miles…
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A photographer shot an awesome time-lapse of SpaceX’s recent rocket launch

Last Friday, SpaceX launched its 18th and final mission of 2017, sending a Falcon 9 rocket out of Vandenberg Air Force Base and into the California sky. The white tail of the rocket was an unusual sight, leaving many in Southern California who did not know a rocket launch was occurring confused, with some even speculating it was a UFO. Now, a spectacular 40-second time-lapse of the Falcon 9 has been posted by photographer Jesse Watson.

Watson lives in Yuma, Arizona, and according to PetaPixel had been following SpaceX launches for some time. Though this latest launch was held at Vandenberg Air Force Base, 400 miles away, he says it was “perfectly viewable” from where he lives in Yuma.

He had never shot a rocket before, but used The…

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All the best reactions to SpaceX’s Friday night rocket launch in California

Last night, SpaceX pulled off its final mission of 2017, launching a Falcon 9 rocket out of California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base — and that flight created a spectacular sight in the night sky. The setting sun illuminated the rocket’s expelled gas just right, creating a beautiful white plume above the Earth. But as pretty as the show was, it also led to quite a bit of concern in nearby Los Angeles.

Vandenberg is around 150 miles away from LA, giving the city a front row view of the illuminated rocket:

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