Rocket Lab has celebrated its 10th successful mission from its launch pad on the Mahia Peninsula.

The mission was named "Running Out Of Fingers", in recognition of it being Rocket Lab's 10th launch.

The rocket, called Electron, launched around 9.20pm on Friday, and had many people across the North Island turning their heads to the skies, due to its unusual appearance.

The Herald reported that one Napier resident said her husband was out fishing with friends when he spotted the weird light in the sky, before it quickly vanished.


Other people posted on social media, saying the light was a UFO.

The rocket was carrying seven satellites for two rideshare customers, Alba Orbital and ALE (the latter of which was procured by Spaceflight).

It brings the total number of satellites launched by Rocket Lab to 47, with a 100 per cent success rate.

As well as being the company's 10th launch, Rocket Lab celebrated another milestone on Friday.

The strange shape had many people looking to the skies on Friday evening. Photo / Supplied
The strange shape had many people looking to the skies on Friday evening. Photo / Supplied

It completed its first guided re-entry of the Electron vehicle's first stage, as the company aims to make Electron a reusable rocket.

The rocket managed to stay on the correct angle as it descended, and slowed to less than 900km/h by the time it reached sea level.

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While this time the rocket disintegrated on impact, as was intended, next year a full recovery will be attempted, with parachutes deployed to enable a soft landing.


Rocket Lab chief executive and founder Peter Beck said the re-entry attempt had been a complete success.

"The stage made it through the harsh re-entry environment intact, which is an outstanding result for a first test of our recovery systems.

"It's a huge testament to the relentless drive and commitment of our team that we've reached 10 flights in just our second year of commercial launches.

"As we close out another year of launches, we set our sights on a busy 2020 that will see us launch Electron from US soil out of Launch Complex 2 for the first time, while continuing to grow the launch cadence out of Launch Complex 1."

The next mission will take place from Mahia (Launch Complex 1) within the first weeks of 2020.