Six small satellites will be launched aboard a 56 foot (17 meter) rocket and 1.2 meters (4 feet) in orbit around Earth as part of a new nanotechnology space race.
The market launch, expected for this month, begins with the creation of a new generation of companies that declare themselves operational in the so-called "small launch industry".
Dozens of start-ups are developing missiles capable of launching small, micro or nano satellites weighing anywhere from a few ounces to a few hundred pounds.
If all goes well, Rocket Lab, the company behind the launch, will drop off at least one of their electronic rockets every month in 2019.
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Six small satellites will be launched aboard a 56 foot (17 meter) rocket and 1.2 meters (4 feet) in orbit around Earth as part of a new nanotechnology space race. This image shows the rock on the launch pad in Mahia, New Zealand, in June 2018. It is expected to fly sometime in November
Founded in 2006 in Huntingdon Beach, California, Rocket Lab completed a successful test flight in January.
Its launch window will open on November 11 and, subject to an incident or another delay after a months-long technical setback, its rocket will take off from the world's first private orbital launch pad in Mahia, New Zealand.
It's a whole new chapter in the New Space Race, the industry's latest revolution that began a decade ago and is based on private, nonpublic innovation, especially in the United States.
Rocket Labs creation has a black carbon composite hull with the inscription "Electron" on the side in white letters.
Its engine is powered by a 3D printer in California, which helped cut costs, said company spokesman Adam Spice told AFP.
The start from New Zealand also has advantages over traditional locations in Florida or California: There are not nearly as many aircraft in the air.
"If you do not have space to clear, we can start more often than anywhere else on Earth," Spice said.
The company has six electron rockets in production and expects 16 launches next year.
The launch, expected for this month, begins with the creation of a new generation of companies that are active in the so-called "small market launch industry". The company behind the plans of Rocket Lab, founded in 2006 in Huntingdon Beach, California, completed a successful test flight from New Zealand in January (pictured).
Are tiny rockets the future of space exploration?
The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is the youngest company to join the development of small rockets.
JAXA successfully launched the ultra-small SS-520 in February 2018, making it one of the first to make progress on the launch of a small rocket.
The SS-520 also carried a 13.6-inch satellite that is now orbiting the Earth.
NASA has also hugged super small satellites.
The agency said it would launch a "swarm" of tiny satellites in 2016 that can track weather and climate change.
The private space company Rocket Lab has been working to launch its small rocket with an expected launch date in November 2018.
The rocket, called Electron, will have three payloads on board: an imaging satellite and two tracking satellites.
Rocket Lab's plans are not going to be relatively cheap; their rocket is expensive on a kilo basis, but they face frequent market launches that would help solve the current job.
Nowadays, companies that want to launch a small satellite into space only have room in a rocket launched by SpaceX or Arianespace, which are primarily reserved for larger, more expensive satellites.
Elon Musk's SpaceX 2-speed Falcon 9 is more than four times the size of the Electron and can carry 23 tons of cargo into space, as opposed to a maximum of 250 kg for the Electron.
Small rockets, however, should help to reduce waiting times at launch from 18 to 24 months or more for larger companies to just six months.
Customers are ready to pay for the fast service: The price of Rocket Lab is around £ 31,000 per kilo, compared to £ 2,300 per kilogram at SpaceX.
"With the small launchers, you have much more flexibility," said Rob Coneybeer, an investor in Vector, a competitor to Rocket Lab.
Elon Musk's SpaceX 2-stage Falcon 9 is more than four times the size of the Electron and can carry 23 tons of cargo into space, while the Electron can carry a maximum of 250 kg (250 kg). A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches on October 7, 2018 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California (file photo)
Other companies in the field of small rockets are Virgin Orbit, Stratolaunch and Gilmour based in Australia.
According to Investment Angels Space Angels CEO Chad Anderson, around 180 companies are working on small rockets.
But there are only about a dozen worldwide who actually have hardware. And even fewer have the necessary resources, he said
"Maybe there are about half a dozen that is really believable right now," the investor added.
The success of these half-dozen companies will help determine the speed of the New Space Race.
When SpaceX sent its first satellite into orbit in 2009, there were about a dozen private space companies, according to Anderson.
Today, there are more than 375 such companies that have raised more than £ 12 billion in funding
The applications for the technology are numerous. First in telecommunications and then in Earth observation, participants in the second space summit announced Thursday that The Economist organized in New York.
More often, it would be desirable to get more accurate images of the earth, which companies want in different areas, from defense to agriculture to insurance and finance.
Such satellites could help simplify everything from repairing gas pipelines to assessing flood damage.
SpaceKnow is already using them to count cars parked in Disney World Florida or in the number of swimming pools in Brazil and to observe activity in 6,000 factories in China.
Such data is collected by Wall Street customers who use it as a new economic indicator.
For all these services to be possible, more satellites will need to be in orbit and therefore more missiles must be launched. Almost a decade after the creation of SpaceX, the path to space is widening.