Hawke's Bay was treated to a show on Sunday evening as Rocket Lab launched its sixth electron rocket from its site on Māhia Peninsula.

Residents from as far south as Central Hawke's Bay were able to spot the rocket in the sky.

Patangata resident Linda Gascoigne said she got a front-row seat, despite being hundreds of kilometres away.

"It was very exciting to see the rocket take to the sky," she said.


"We weren't sure if we would be able to see it or even where we should look in the night sky so it was extremely exciting to actually see it."

Axel Alexander said seeing the rocket in the sky from Taradale was pretty cool.

"I didn't actually think we'd be able to see it, but as we watched it on the livestream and we looked up and boom, it was there."

He said having looked at some of the photos his wife took, compared to what they actually saw, didn't do it justice.

"My 5-year old daughter loved it and even said 'Daddy, I want to ride on a rocket so I can see space'."

The launch took place soon after 6pm and reportedly sparked at least two 111 calls to police about "flares" off the Hawke's Bay coast.

Police told Hawke's Bay Today on Monday they had no record of any such calls.

The rocket and its Curie upper stage will place three small satellites into orbit through the US Air Force's Rapid Agile Launch Initiative, RocketLab reported.


The satellite - STP-27RD - is the company's fifth orbital mission and second this year.

The Space Test Programme is a US Government organisation responsible for mission design, spacecraft acquisition, integration, launch, and on orbit operations for the
Department of Defence's most innovative space experiments, technologies and demonstrations.

The STP-27RD payload consists of three satellites weighing in at a total of 180kg.

In March, Rocket Lab successfully launched a communications satellite into low-Earth orbit for US military agency DARPA.