Rocket Lab, a Long Beach manufacturer of small rockets used to launch satellites, plans to go public through a SPAC merger that will value the company at $4.1 billion.

The move could position Rocket Lab, which hopes to eventually send people into orbit, as a larger player in space travel.

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SpaceX's Starship, the latest prototype of the rocket the company hopes will one day carry humans to Mars, exploded as it attempted to land on Tuesday.

The rocket, which the company hopes will take people to Mars, has been a "top SpaceX priority," of Elon Musk. A few months after his company-wide email announcing the goal, the company unveiled the Starship prototype, with hopes of reaching Mars this year.

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Elon Musk's SpaceX is promising to launch four civilians into orbit by next year, an ambitious goal that would mark the first commercial crew launch if completed successfully.

Billionaire Jared Isaacman, CEO of Pennsylvania-based payment technology firm Shift4 Payments Inc., is financing the trip, chartering the Dragon rocket and donating three seats. The remaining three people joining Isaacman will be announced in coming weeks, SpaceX said Monday.

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