Atea-1 blasts off

Yesterday, following a slight delay, Atea-1 took to the sky.

The 6m tall rocket, developed by Auckland firm Rocket Lab Ltd, is new Zealand’s first attempt at commercial space flight and was launched from Great Mercury Island, in the Coromandel.  It is also being promoted as the Southern Hemisphere’s first private rocket launch to reach space.

The rocket is a first for other reasons, including the fact that the fuel it uses is more environmentally-friendly than normal rocket fuel, and Rocket Lab is promoting its use as a Southern Hemisphere-based opportunity for scientific sounding missions.

News coverage:

NBR: NZ rocket blasts off – and so will profits, maker says

Waikato Times/Stuff: NZ’s first space rocket launches

TVNZ (One News/NZPA): Second time lucky for NZ rocket launch

NZ Herald/NZPA: Fishermen find rocket engine

TVNZ (ONE News/NZPA/Newstalk ZB): Piece of rocket found off Coromandel