New Zealand has officially trumped Australia, launching their first rocket from a launch pad on the North Island in the Mahia peninsula. The spaceflight start-up, Rocket Lab will allow small companies to launch satellites from their facility relatively cheap.
“Space is now open for business," the American-New Zealand company Rocket Lab said.
Rocket Lab was able to launch three satellites into orbit in testing phase on the 21st of January. The company believes they can launch a new rocket for for the economic price tag of $US 4.9 Million every week.
“We should applaud our neighbour's efforts for being visionary, and really pursuing something that they didn't think was possible 10 years ago," Australian National University astrophysicist Brad Tucker explained to the ABC.
Australia announced their plans for a Space Agency last year and are “not far behind” launching, particularly as smaller companies like Rocket Lab are building their own launch pads. There are similar plans for launch sites in the Northern Territory, with tests expected within the year.
Today marks the beginning of a new era in commercial access to space. Thank you to @planetlabs and @SpireGlobal for joining us on this ride. #Electron #StillTesting #PassedTheTest pic.twitter.com/RUMx31MzN8— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) January 21, 2018
Michael Davis, chair of the Space Industry Association of Australia explained to the ABC that Australia has other economic reason for a space industry.
"It is possible that Australia will be a participant in the commercial launch business," he said.
"But there are still plenty of economic benefits around the actual development of satellites and even greater benefits around the use of satellite data.
"And and it's around those areas of activity that we believe Australia has a very strong commercial future in developing our industry and creating jobs."