Lift-off at 4.20pm today was the first orbital-class rocket launched from a private launch site in the world.
New Zealand has become the 11th country with potential to launch cargo into space, joining superpowers and tech heavyweights. The Government has hailed the lift-off as major milestone for the country's space industry.
The rocket took three minutes to reach space - outer space starts at 100km above the earth's surface - with a "great" first stage burn, stage separation, second stage ignition and fairing separation.
"We're one of a few companies to ever develop a rocket from scratch and we did it in under four years. To get as far as we did on the first test flight doesn't often happen," he said.
"It was a beautiful mission to watch."
He gave the flight a "10 our of 10" and a big party was planned tonight at the company's operations base near Auckland Airport.
During the next few weeks, Rocket Lab's engineers in Los Angeles and Auckland will work through the 25,000 data channels that were collected during the flight and results will be used to improve the vehicle's performance for two further tests.
Beck said the company had done more ground testing than was usually done and it had paid off with yesterday's flight.
The 17m tall rocket - with a silver fern on its nose - lifted slowly from the launch pad before accelerating and was packing an estimated one million horsepower.
Forty-year-old Beck is a hands-on engineer, he was raised in Invercargill and founded Rocket Lab in 2006.
The Electron is made entirely of carbon-composite material and is designed to carry payloads of 225kg to an elliptical orbit and up to 150kg to a nominal 500km Sun-synchronous, low Earth orbit.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges has hailed the launch as the first visible sign of a space industry in New Zealand.
Rocket Lab and all New Zealanders could be proud of it, he said.
"New Zealand is now one of 11 countries able to launch satellites into space from their own territory and the first to launch from a fully private orbital launch range."
Kyle Lockwood, the designer of New Zealand's alternative flag, designed the silver fern which adorned the first prototype Electron rocket and Rocket Lab's official 'It's a Test' mission patch.
CEO Peter Beck approached Kyle in 2014 for a licence to use his silver fern design.
We congratulate Rocket Lab on the successful launch of the Electron Rocket, and we are proud that our silver fern design played a part in the test launch today.
Grant Bradley - NZ Herald | silverfernflag.org
PROUD KIWI - Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck stands next to the prototype Electron rocket.