Rocket Lab says it will announce a new launch window early in the New Year after it failed to get its second test flight away before Christmas.

Founder and chief executive Peter Beck said the company was wary of ''launch fever'' and it wouldn't attempt another one from Mahia until it was ready.

During the 10-day launch window before Christmas, Rocket Lab on one day got within two seconds of blast-off before the vehicle automatically shut itself down because of the high temperature of liquid oxygen to one engine. A power fault to ground equipment resulted in a scrub on the second to last day and on other days it was affected by high altitude winds.

''We would love to launch during the window but this is the business we're in - this a standard day at work in the space industry,'' Beck said


''Windows come and windows close.''

He said the last second aborted lift-off proved systems were working.

''We came very close to lift-off but the machine was not 100 per cent happy and it shut itself down - it did exactly what it was supposed to do.''

The Electron rocket was not damaged and didn't need any repairs.

''There was no remediation needed at all. We were ready to roll the next day,'' he said.

The company would gather data from the attempts rather get drawn into pushing towards an arbitrary window.

''In the industry it's known as launch fever where you make decisions that aren't in the best interests of the vehicle or the mission.''

The Rocket Lab programme aims to take small satellites into orbit for a fraction of the cost of established overseas operators.


In May it successfully launched into space from Mahia but a communications glitch meant it had to be destroyed before reaching orbit.

Beck said the new regulators from the US and New Zealand would need to be on-site again during the next launch window and this added to the complexity.

During the launch attempts roads are closed and shipping is affected. He said locals had been understanding and supportive throughout the year.

''We're very lucky that they are very tolerant and very understanding - it's always great to see the excitement from the locals.''