The year is off to a flying start for Rocket Lab, who have announced the opening of their second test window to launch the Electron rocket from Mahia Peninsula.
The company will open a nine-day launch window from Saturday January 20, with a four-hour launch window opening daily from 2.30 pm.
In May Rocket Lab made history from this site with the successful inaugural Electron test.
However its planned second launch attempt in December was called off after bad weather and technical difficulties led to a number of scrubbed launches, including one which was aborted seconds from scheduled lift-off.
The upcoming second test launch - also titled "Still Testing" - will blast off from Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula. Carrying an Earth-imaging Dove satellite for Planet and two Lemur-2 satellites for Spire, this test will enable Rocket Lab to gather crucial data and test systems for the deployment stage of a mission.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said the test was an important next step in "democratising access to space to empower humanity".
"Increased access to space will vastly improve humanity's ability to build orbital infrastructure, such as constellations of weather and Earth-imaging satellites. These will provide more data about our planet and enable us as a species to make informed decisions about how we better manage our impact.
"This test launch is a crucial next step in gathering more data from Electron so we can deliver on this future," he said.
"Once again, we're expecting to scrub multiple times as we wait for perfect conditions and make sure everything on the vehicle is performing as it should."
Their test attempt will only go ahead if launch conditions are ideal. Planned lift-offs
are often subject to multiple and subsequent postponements - or scrubs - to allow for technical modifications and to wait for ideal weather conditions.
Eager onlookers are expected to turn out again at the unofficial viewing site on Blucks Pit Rd, in Nuhaka.
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little said he did not think the unsuccessful December launch window would deter anyone.
"Rocket Lab has always made it quite clear there would be scrubs in their launches. That's probably what makes it exciting, you don't know whether it's going to happen or not," he said.
"It certainly shows their determination to get it up. The sooner they can get some more successful ones up the sooner they can get into the real business of what they do."
Rocket Lab yesterday thanked the Māhia community for its hospitality. They said they were grateful for the support of staff and volunteers from Police, NZ Fire Service, the volunteer fire brigade, St John Ambulance, the harbour master, Wairoa District Council and Hawke's Bay Regional Council.
As with previous attempts, parts of Mahia East Coast Rd and some sea areas will be closed to the public at limited times. Members of the public are asked to follow the instructions of authorised launch and emergency services personnel and remain in specified safety zones during the test launch.
- As with the December attempt, the upcoming Still Testing launch attempt will be live streamed to the public, available around 15 minutes prior to a launch attempt and will be viewable on YouTube and at www.rocketlab.co.nz
- For real time updates, follow Rocket Lab on Twitter @RocketLab
- Full details of road closures can be found on the Rocket Lab website at www.rocketlabusa.com/launch/launch-updates