A "rogue" boat has delayed Rocket Lab's launch of its Electron rocket from Mahia.

"A rogue ship entered our launch-range area resulting us in having to go into a manually induced hold for the launch. This is of course for safety reasons as we can't have boats down range of the vehicle...we are going to be recycling the vehicle and getting ready for another attempt today," Rocket Lab's mission control in Auckland said.

The launch was put on hold less than a minute before scheduled lift-off.

If the launch is scrubbed, further attempts may be made over another eight days.


This test follows on from the company's first launch in May, in which the rocket got to space but did not make it to orbit after range safety officials had to kill the flight.

The second Electron rocket - named Still Testing - will carry an Earth-imaging Dove satellite for Planet, and Lemur-2 satellites for Spire for weather mapping and tracking ship traffic.

Rocket Lab had attempted to launch Still Testing in December, but conditions did not allow for it.

Rocket Lab said that there had been no modifications made to the rocket used in December and that the launch will again depend on the weather.

The test launch attempt would only proceed if conditions were ideal for launch.

Due to the nature of launching rockets, planned lift-offs are often subject to multiple and subsequent postponements, or scrubs, to allow for small, technical modifications and to wait for ideal weather conditions, Rocket Lab said.

A company spokesperson on Friday urged members of the public not to head to the site for what could be a long wait and instead watch the proceedings via a live stream.

The New Zealand-founded company aims to put small satellites into space at a fraction of the cost of established rivals.



• The Electron rocket weighs more than 12 tonnes at lift-off - about the same as a double decker bus

• Its nine Rutherford engines produce enough thrust to lift that from a standing start

• Power to weight, it is the most powerful machine in New Zealand

• It will take about three seconds to clear the four-storey launch tower

• It will climb to more than 10,600m feet in a minute

• Once past the thicker parts of the atmosphere it will reach 27,000km/h

• Stage 1 of Electron separates after two and a half minutes

• After just over eight minutes Electron reaches orbit about 500km above the earth

• At eight and a half minutes payload separates from the launch vehicle

• It can carry a payload of up to 225kg

• Once in commercial operation launches will cost customers about $7.16m.

• All loads are licenced by international and NZ space authorities