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New Zealand launches rocket
Wellington, DEC 1 (Agencies):
Published on 1 Dec. 2009 11:55 PM IST
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A New Zealand based rocket company on late Monday successfully blasted the country’s first rocket 120-kilometres into the sky. Co-founder Mark Rocket, 39, and Peter Beck, 32, claimed their Rocket Lab is the first privately owned company in the southern hemisphere to make a successful space launch. A small crowd gathered in the Great Mercury Island off the coast of New Zealand, to witness the historic moment that New Zealand entered the space race. “These guys really are our heroes on science you know, we’ve got heroes on the sports field but these guys are our real heroes I think,” said Labour member of Parliament, David Shearer. The first attempt to blast the 6-metre long rocket into the sub-orbit failed due to a technical problem. But Mark Rocket told reporters gathered to witness the launch that they would “keep on trucking” despite the initial failure. Then the delayed launch happened and owners claimed that the rocket reached 5000km per hour and stayed in the air for at least 10 minutes before splashing down to sea, local media said. “That was just incredible, that was pure power, it was glorious to behold,” said Rocket after the launch. Atea-1 is capable of carrying payloads up to 2-kilograms to 120 kilometres altitude. Atea means space in the local Maori language.

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