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Businesses Space News

New Zealand To Launch First Private Space Rocket 96

Posted by kdawson
from the hobbits-in-space dept.
RobGoldsmith sends in a Space Fellowship piece (which seems to be a press release) about New Zealand's entry into the space age. "Private New Zealand aerospace company Rocket Lab completed its final ground-based test today and is now ready to launch New Zealand into the space race with its Atea-1 launch vehicle. The first high-altitude launch of Atea-1 is scheduled for the end of November this year. Once Atea-1 has successfully concluded the development phase it will be the first privately built rocket launched from the Southern Hemisphere to enter space. The article features a new CGI movie on the launch."
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New Zealand To Launch First Private Space Rocket

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  • They fire them from Woomera (ie, in the southern hemisphere) all the time.

    • by nietsch (112711)

      Indeed it is. They had to make up some exotic conditions to claim their first. They probably think it is better because it is from New Zealand. Nationalism is an illnes everyone can succumb to, it seems.

      • Nationalism is an illnes everyone can succumb to, it seems.

        It certainly is.

        I must say though, as an Australian, a successful launch would provide a perfect demonstration of the ingenuity of Aussie engineers.

        A failed mission will of course make New Zealand a laughing stock.

        Again.

    • by SETIGuy (33768)
      Yeah, and it goes to half the altitude of an 1947 vintage Aerobee and carries one thirtieth of the payload. It only took 15 years to develop compared to less than two years for the Aerobee. (But that sort of time frame seems to be the direction the world is progressing on all projects.)

      Maybe there's some impressive stats that I'm missing?

  • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @05:32AM (#30127330) Homepage

    I recall from an interview from the tv program 'Real People' with a fellow who had built a passenger rocket out of spare government parts. It was a torpedo-like tube with a very small window. There was passenger space for a lean person and a parachute.

    I don't recall if it had been test fired. It was also unclear how high it would go. What I do remember well was when the builder was asked if he would fly in it, the answer was along the lines of "hell no".

  • by Rob Kaper (5960) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @05:46AM (#30127396) Homepage

    If it's truly private, Rocket Lab should get all credit, not New Zealand.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      If it's truly private, Rocket Lab should get all credit, not New Zealand.

      If you were a born and bred New Zealander as I am you would realise that the people behind this are the same. Ask anyone from NZ what they are, and I guarantee you they're a kiwi ahead of all other things.
      Reading the article it is quite clearly a kiwi invention. It is being tested with the help of Air New Zealand (partly government owned), it focuses on creating environmental aspects of their design (I can't think of anything more kiwiana) and imho embodies the 'No 8 wire' attitude.
      (for those who don't

      • by turing_m (1030530)

        ...velcro gloves.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You forgot Colin McKenzie, "the first and greatest innovator of modern cinema" as it says in wikipedia. He invented among other things sound and color film.

        Richard Pearse, the inventor of powered aircraft should also be noted.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *
        In all fairness, the world had jogging long before 1944. They just called it "slow running."
      • by ondigo (1323273)
        Whenever I contemplate emigrating from the US, New Zealand is always at the top of my list. This is just another good reason to bolster that choice.
        • by dafing (753481)
          Why not visit in the meantime? NZ is a beautiful place. I do warn Americans that you MIGHT be giving up MAJOR parts of your life, like "krispy kreme donuts"....surely that outweighs living in a Nuclear Free, Non Waring country? :( :P
      • by jrumney (197329)

        despite it being one of the youngest countries in the world.

        A quick look at a 19th century map of the world might show otherwise.

      • If it's truly private, Rocket Lab should get all credit, not New Zealand.

        If you were a born and bred New Zealander as I am you would realise that the people behind this are the same. Ask anyone from NZ what they are, and I guarantee you they're a kiwi ahead of all other things.

        New Zealanders are all un-hygienic!

      • by Maelwryth (982896)
        You forgot;
        "William Hayward Pickering ONZ KBE (24 December 1910 — 15 March 2004) was a New Zealand born rocket scientist who headed Pasadena, California's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for 22 years, retiring in 1976. He was a senior NASA luminary and pioneered the exploration of space."*

        I emailed Rocket Labs for a better time table as I should be able to get a good view of the launch, and they said;

        "Thank you for your interest.

        We have a media contingent going and one of them may be doing somet
    • by Nefarious Wheel (628136) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @08:05AM (#30127904) Journal

      I've seen some pretty amazing engineering coming out of our NZ neighbors. They remind me of the Swiss more than anyone else. Amazing motorcycles, Stirling-cycle heat pumps, custom cars, all good stuff and very advanced. It would not surprise me in the least if they succeeded in a private space venture.

      Add good engineering to the amazing amount of high quality educational material available online (the full University syllabus material out there) and I can imagine little pockets of excellent engineering and sound science popping up all over the globe.

      Give the Internet some credit for this too.

      • by Fred_A (10934)

        I've seen some pretty amazing engineering coming out of our NZ neighbors. They remind me of the Swiss more than anyone else.

        Quite. A lot of small countries gave birth to wondrous inventions.

        1970s Spreadable Butter - New Zealand Dairy Research Institute
        After years of development, the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute released the worlds first spreadable butter in 1991, which was then made by New Zealand dairy co-operatives and now by Fonterra.

        Although a number of the examples given by the resident Kiwi are a bit strange, to say the least...
        ("The world's first referee to use a whistle to stop a game of sport." um, ok.)

    • by TorKlingberg (599697) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @08:09AM (#30127940)

      A country is not just its government.

  • Here in Denmark, we have some guys working on a manned space flight: http://www.copenhagensuborbitals.com/ [copenhagen...bitals.com] "Our mission is very simple. We are working towards launching a human being into space. This is a non-profit suborbital space endeavor lead by Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen, based entirely on sponsors and volunteers." Their progress is impressive!
  • by d4nowar (941785)

    So they gave up on their toothbrush fence?

  • Bad idea? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @06:43AM (#30127584)

    But they are on the bottom of the planet - won't they be firing the wrong way?

  • When I read this I remembered reading somewhere that this company was involved with internet entrepreneur Mark Rocket. I googled him and sure enough he is mentioned as a co-founder of Rocket Lab. Some years ago he was our neighbour and rented a house from my parents. I know that he did not have much money back then, but now he is a multi-millionaire. Mr Rocket, who changed his name from Stevens, was the first New Zealander to book a seat on Virgin Galactic's sub-orbital space flight in 2010. It's now a
  • by Chuq (8564) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @07:41AM (#30127800) Homepage Journal

    Let them into the World Cup and next thing you know they think they can join the space race!

  • Launched as (Score:5, Funny)

    by kevingolding2001 (590321) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @07:44AM (#30127814)

    Rocket: Oh Noo, Oh Noo, I'm launched Broo. I'm launched es.
    Satellite: Hey Broo, Hey Broo, what are you doing broo?
    Rocket: Dude, I'm launched es.
    Satellite: Ah Haw Shit. Your launched es!
    Rocket: Tell me something I doo'nt noo.
    Satellite:.... Broo, you're heaps launched es!
    Rocket: Soo launched. Launched es.

    • by AGMW (594303) on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @08:53AM (#30128202) Homepage
      Unfortunately they've re-used existing Kiwi tech, so rather than a capsule to hold the pilot they just attach him to the bottom of the rocket with a bungee cord.
      The rocket should get about half-way before the cord is tight enough to lift the pilot which has an added benefit, safety-wise, as any problems during the launch and they can just cut the cord!
    • by pinkstuff (758732)
      In case you don't know what parent is on about: Beached As [youtube.com]. Warning, Kiwi and Australian humour.
    • by MrKaos (858439)

      Satellite:.... Broo, you're heaps launched es!

      Rocket: Soo launched. Launched es.....

      Satellite:cherhh Broo...

  • xena connection (Score:2, Interesting)

    by hort_wort (1401963)

    New Zealand is where Xena was filmed. The new planetoid recently discovered was also named Xena. Coincidence? I think not.

  • Bowie's In Space (Score:2, Interesting)

    by skyriser2 (179031)

    Hopefully it will look something like this...

    Flight of the Conchords, Bowie's In Space:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4zV4pJ8MwM [youtube.com]

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday November 17, 2009 @09:21AM (#30128450)
    We should have never given these people the technology to make movies. They've progressed in only one generation from filmmaking to building rockets. Who knows what shenanigans they may be capable of in the next generation.
  • It's business time
  • For the first orbital flight they sent up a test sheep.

    Unfortunately, it died. This set the mission back months, as curiously the chief engineer, a guy named "Trevor", was emotionally devastated and needed time off work.
  • "By KroNicKq // 1923Turk-Grup" <- I'm assuming this is some zit-faced loser.
  • For Christ's sake, Xena cannot leap into orbit. It's just fiction, New Zealand.

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