Rocket Lab's hoped for Electron test rocket has been scrubbed on the Mahia Peninsula after two vessels entered the surrounding exclusion zone.

Mission control aborted today's planned launch just before 6pm, due to weather conditions.

But an earlier launch in the afternoon was stopped less than a minute before launch-off after a ship entered a no-go zone on the peninsula.

Read more: Blast off! Rocket Lab successfully reaches orbit on second attempt


"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.

Rocket Lab confirmed later that actually two ships had entered the area.

On Friday a company spokesperson had urged members of the public not to head to the site because of what could have been a long wait.

Today's dramas come after the company's first test launch last 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 and Lemur-2 satellites for weather mapping and tracking ship traffic.

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

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