Rocket Lab aims to put small satellites in space for less

Fortune

While SpaceX and now United Launch Alliance continue to pursue reusable rocket engine technology, a joint U.S./New Zealand startup aims to cut satellite launch costs by as much as 91 percent.

Using a rocket consisting of 3D-printed parts, Rocket Lab intends to put small satellites weighing as much as 220 pounds into orbit above the Earth, all for a price of $4.9 million per launch. Depending on the type and size of a payload, most launches these days start at $50 million.

But, CEO Peter Beck wants to make one thing clear about its Electron rocket: This isn’t about owning the space launch market or undercutting SpaceX or ULA for their lucrative NASA or military launch contracts. “We’re not looking to build a family of vehicles, we’re not looking to fly people,” Beck tells Fortune. “This is about increasing launch frequency and reducing the cost of building space infrastructure.”

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