Space start-up Rocket Lab has launched its first rocket into orbit from New Zealand. The launch, aimed at bringing small devices to space, combines carbon fibre components with 3D-printed engines and costs about US$5m per launch at the company’s own launch pad in the Mahai Peninsula.
At the other end of the spectrum, SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket is gearing up for its first flight this month at NASA’s Cape Canaveral space centre, at about US$90m per launch. The vehicle, which could one day provide crewed flight to the moon, had its ‘static fire’ test in mid-January and is expected to undergo a full launch within the next two weeks.
Finally, while on the topic of Elon Musk and fire, we’re reluctantly obliged to mention the charismatic billionaire’s latest publicity stunt. A flamethrower branded for his Boring Company, originally announced as a joke tweet, has now become a multimillion dollar reality. Musk has denied that he has any plans to create a zombie apocalypse in order to boost sales of the US$500 fiery devices.
Image: Rocket Lab preparing for launch in New Zealand. By Rocket Lab
This story is taken from the 2 February 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.