A scrappy American rocket startup just set the bar in the red-hot market for companies that launch small satellites.
Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket launched six small satellites — or smallsats — into a low-Earth orbit Sunday from New Zealand. It’s the second time company’s rocket, which is less than 60 feet tall, has done that.
Rocket Lab’s rivals have not yet pulled off an orbital launch, which means it is at the front of an increasingly crowded pack of rocket startups that want to launch smallsats for businesses and researchers.
Other prominent companies in the dedicated smallsat launch industry include Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit and SpaceX veteran Jim Cantrell’s Vector. “[My team] built a beautiful machine,” Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck told CNN Business on Sunday.