In Photos: Rocket Lab and Its Electron Booster

Rocket Lab Electron rocket lifts off
A Rocket Lab Electron rocket lifts off from New Zealand on Jan. 20, 2018, on the booster's second-ever spaceflight. The Electron delivered four small satellites to orbit on the mission, which was called "Still Testing." (Image credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab's Electron

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab aims to make space far more accessible via its Electron booster, which is designed to launch small payloads to orbit for about $5 million per liftoff. See photos of Electron in action here. In this photo, a Rocket Lab Electron launches the company's second test flight, called "Still Testing," from the company's Māhia Peninsula launch site in New Zealand on Jan. 21, 2018 local time. The Electron rocket carried three small satellites into orbit for Rocket Lab customers.

Rocket Lab Humanity Star

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck stands with his creation, "The Humanity Star," which launched aboard "Still Testing" in January 2018.

Rocket Lab Electron Booster Stage Separation

Rocket Lab

A Rocket Lab Electon booster upper stage separates from its first stage (bottom) during its second test flight, called "Still Testing," on Jan. 21, 2018.

Rocket Lab Electron Still Testing

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab's second Electron rocket stands on its New Zealand pad prior to the "Still Testing" liftoff.

Rocket Lab's Electron Rocket on Launch Pad

Rocket Lab

Close-up view of the Electron on the pad.

Rocket Lab's Electron at Night

Kieran Fanning/Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab launch team member Kieran Fanning took this photo of the company's Electron rocket at night ahead of a planned "It's Business Time" launch attempt from Māhia Peninsula, New Zealand on June 23, 2018.

It's Business Time on the launchpad

Rocket Lab

The private spaceflight company Rocket Lab postponed the first commercial launch of its Electron rocket from New Zealand on June 23, 2018 due to a tracking system issue.

An American Launch Site

Rocket Lab

In October 2018, Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck unveiled the first U.S. launch site for the company's Electron booster. It will launch from a new pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, which is also home to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Here, Beck and others celebrate the official groundbreaking ceremony.

William Shatner at Rocket Lab's New Facility

Rocket Lab

"Star Trek" icon William Shatner checks out an Electron at Rocket Lab's new manufacturing and control facility in New Zealand in October 2018.

William Shatner at Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab

Shatner signs a piece of hardware.

Electron Rockets

Rocket Lab

Electrons on the floor at the manufacturing facility.

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.