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New Zealand has never had a space program but could soon be launching commercial rockets more often than the United States.Founded by New Zealander Peter Beck, the company was last week given official approval to conduct three test launches from a remote peninsula in the South Pacific nation. Rocket Lab is planning the first launch of its Electron rocket sometime from Monday, depending on conditions.The company hopes to begin commercial launches later this year and eventually launch one rocket every week.It's a different plan than some other space companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX, which uses larger rockets to carry bigger payloads.Rocket Lab says each launch will cost just $5 million, a tiny fraction of a typical rocket launch.Unlike SpaceX, which aims to build a rocket that's fully reusable, Rocket Lab's rockets are disposable. He said the U.S. is launching fewer than two-dozen commercial rockets a year and remains a world leader. Still, he thinks Rocket Lab's goal of 50 or more launches a year sounds ambitious, and would take several years to achieve.
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