Rocket Lab's 1st Commercial Launch in Pictures: 'It's Business Time'!

Behold, the Launch Site

Rocket Lab

This dazzling view shows the beauty of Rocket Lab's launch site at the Mahia Peninsula of New Zealand's North Island. "Our launch team had a stunning view on the way to Launch Complex 1 this morning," Rocket Lab said of this image on launch day.

How to Track a Rocket

Rocket Lab

A rocket's mission doesn't end at liftoff, you'll have to track it. This image shows the tracking facility used for Rocket Lab's It's Business Time mission.

Rocket Engine Test!

Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab test fired the first stage Rutherford engine of the Electron rocket for It's Business Time in late October for the November launch.

A Dazzling View

Kieran Fanning/Rocket Lab

The November 2018 launch of It's Business Time wasn't Rocket Lab's first attempt to fly the mission. The company tried several times in June to launch the flight, only to be thwarted by technical glitches. But look at this view! Photgrapher Kieran Fanning captured this amazing view ahead of one of those launch attempts.

Second Launch Try

Rocket Lab via Twitter

The Electron booster stands on the launchpad at Rocket Lab's site on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula ahead of a planned June 26, 2018, liftoff. The launch was called off because of a technical issue.

First Launch Try

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.

It's Business Time Mission Patch

Rocket Lab

The mission patch for Rocket Lab's "It's Business Time" launch. It was the company's first commercial flight for customers. Read our full story of Rocket Lab's successful launch of It's Business Time here!

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.