Although systems were not go for Rocket Lab's first test launch from Mahia Peninsula, those eager to witness the historic moment still turned out in droves.

The first launch in Rocket Lab's 10-day testing window was scheduled to lift-off yesterday.

With relatively calm conditions the situation was looking positive - the rocket had been rolled out on to the launch pad on Monday night, and the road to the launch site was closed early yesterday morning.

Due to these factors, it was thought the rocket was set to launch around midday.


However, early yesterday afternoon Rocket Lab chief executive and founder Peter Beck said the launch had been called off because of adverse weather conditions.

The conditions yesterday "put us at risk of what's called Triboelectrification. This is the build up of static charge through friction", which could have affect the avionics onboard.

This had affected other launches around the world.

Although the launch was called off, nearly 100 people were reported to have travelled to a designated viewing site throughout the day to try and witness the event.

Wairoa District Council is currently scoping out potential sites for a viewing platform, to be utilised when the commercial stage of flights begin.

Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 1 is located at the tip of Mahia Peninsula, and cannot be viewed from publicly accessible sites.

However, work has been carried out at a contender site -Blucks Pit Rd, Nuhaka - where at least 70 people travelled to yesterday to catch a glimpse of the launch.

The site is located close to the waterfront, with carparking space, picnic benches, and portable toilets set up at the site.


Council economic development and engagement manager Kitea Tipuna said numbers at the site peaked between 11am and 1pm - when the launch was thought to happen.

Their team at the site had recorded about 40 vehicles, and 70 people at the site during this time.

"There were people from Wellington, Napier, Tauranga. Some of them were just driving through and had seen the 'space launch' signs, and some had driven up specially," Mr Tipuna said.

The council had been discouraging people from travelling to the area during the testing phase, so Mr Tipuna said he had been surprised at the turnout.

"People want to see the first launch from New Zealand."

Even after the launch was called off, some motorists driving through the area still paid a visit to the site.

Hawke's Bay Today understands other coastal sites were also utilised by eager space enthusiasts.

Wairoa mayor Craig Little said while the delay "probably disappointed a lot of people", Rocket Lab, and eager witnesses just had to wait for ideal weather conditions.

He had been surprised by the number of people who turned out to witness the potential launch, and said this showed there would be significant interest when commercial launches began.

In Wairoa CBD, businesses spoken to by Hawke's Bay Today said they had been busy in the morning, but this had tapered off during the day.

Accommodation providers in the town were nearly all fully booked, however few bookings were thought to be related to the rocket launch.

The first launch was scheduled for Monday, however this was delayed because of unfavourable weather conditions, and high winds which prevented the roll out of the rocket.

Rocket Lab said it would attempt a launch again today.

Weather agency Metservice is forecasting cloudy periods tomorrow, with scattered showers developing in the morning. Northwesterlies will turn southwest in the afternoon.