WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND: California-based company Rocket Lab says it has successfully launched a test rocket into space from its New Zealand launch pad.

The company tweeted Thursday afternoon: "Made it to space. Team delighted. More to follow!"

Rocket Lab was given official approval last week to conduct three test launches from the remote Mahia Peninsula. The company hopes to begin commercial launches later this year and eventually launch one rocket every week.

New Zealand has never had a space program but officials hope regular launches could change perceptions of the nation and generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Rocket Lab plans to keep costs low by using lightweight, disposable rockets with 3D-printed engines. It sees an emerging market in delivering lots of small devices into orbit.