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Rocket Lab puts satellites in orbit from New Zealand

Rocket Lab Electron launch
Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket rises from its launch pad on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. (Rocket Lab via YouTube)

Rocket Lab executed its second orbital mission today, sending six small satellites and an experimental drag sail into orbit from an oceanside launch pad in New Zealand.

Liftoff of the Electron rocket came at 4:50 p.m. New Zealand time on Nov. 11 (7:50 p.m. PT Nov. 10) at Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula.

This satellite launch mission was nicknamed “It’s Business Time,” in reference to its fully commercial nature as well as in tribute to one of the songs by Flight of the Conchords, a New Zealand parody-pop duo.

Rocket Lab’s business time had to be postponed twice over the past seven months, due to concerns about a motor controller for the first-stage Rutherford engines. But this time around, the countdown went off without a hitch, and the three-stage rocket rose into the southern sky to enter a pole-to-pole orbit.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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