Rocket Lab's has scrubbed its lift-off attempt for the day because of risky weather.

Chief executive and founder Peter Beck said while Rocket Lab had been able to roll the rocket out to the launch pad, it was waiting for the high altitude cloud to clear.

"Safety is Rocket Lab's number one priority and we are following guidelines set by the FAA and NASA around weather and launch safety,'' he said.

"Current weather conditions put us at risk of what's called Triboelectrification. This is the build up of static charge through friction.''


Ice and other particles in high cloud strike the rocket transferring electrons and build up charge on the surface of the vehicle.

'''This can lead to large voltage potential and encourage electric discharges or lightning which may affect the avionics onboard," says Beck.

This has affected other launches around the world .

Rocket Lab says it will attempt a launch again tomorrow. High winds caused a postponement yesterday for the launch in a 10-day window

Earlier today the road to the launch site closed, suggesting a launch could have been some time early this afternoon.

A company spokesperson this morning confirmed the rocket was rolled out to the launch pad last night.

However, weather or technical factors could mean a scrub or postponement as close as 0.1 seconds to launch.

Two and a half hours before any launch, pad personnel would leave the area to safe zones more than 2km away.


Two hours before launch the rocket is filled with liquid oxygen with kerosene which powers the vehicle.

The Civil Aviation Authority has imposed a "restricted" area around Mahia and a "danger" area following the long narrow arc of the rocket's path stretching to 66 degrees south, just north of the Antarctic Circle.

The agency says this is to facilitate safety during the rocket launch and the risks from launch debris.

Less than an hour from launch time these restrictions are activated, although air traffic in the area is sparse. Just one international flight passes in the vicinity, a LATAM Dreamliner which flies from Auckland to Santiago in Chile in the late afternoon.

Restrictions are also imposed on marine traffic near Mahia.

A Hawke's Bay Today reporter and photographer near the Mahia rocket launch site this morning say there's been no sign of activity ahead of New Zealand's first attempt to launch a rocket into space.

The 10-day launch window started yesterday on the Mahia Peninsula, between Napier and Gisborne.

Rocket Lab, the American-New Zealand aerospace company that built the Electron rocket, had delayed the launch until today.

If it's successful, it will be the first time a rocket has been sent into orbit from a private launch pad.

Electron is designed to carry small satellites into low orbit cheaper than current alternatives. The company's chief executive is Peter Beck, from Invercargill.

Prime Minister Bill English says if the launch is successful it will be "an amazing achievement".

"And it's all been driven by a boy from Invercargill who has this incredible set of skills, ranging from raising finance, running a complex organisation, holding international negotiations and is technically brilliant," he said.

"We wish them every success, because it would be a marvellous achievement to set up that industry in that part of the country — the ongoing impact would have quite an impact."