Bad Astronomy

New Zealand rocket gets to space!

A small private company in New Zealand, Rocket Lab, is the first in the southern hemisphere to send a rocket to the edge of space. Atea-1 reached the 100-kilometer (62 mile) altitude demarcation line just a few days ago (there’s a video of the launch at that link too). The rocket was only about 6 meters tall and weighed only about 70 kilos, but in this case size isn’t what matters, thrust does. The motor fired long and hard enough to propel the rocket with its small scientific instrument payload into space. It fell back to Earth a few kilometers away, and according to the Rocket Lab Twitter feed as of right now has not yet been recovered.

Most amusingly, the video in the link above shows a flock of sheep being scared by the launch. That made me think of The Dish. And, more to the point, I think the company should have named the rocket Conchord. It was certainly the most beautiful rocket (in the room).