Rocket Lab’s second Electron rocket stands vertical at the company’s New Zealand launch site during pre-flight testing. Credit: Rocket Lab
Rocket Lab plans to roll out the company’s second light-class Electron rocket to its launch pad in New Zealand on Thursday for final countdown preparations, but officials have delayed liftoff to no earlier than Friday night, U.S. time.
The Electron booster, standing roughly 55 feet (17 meters) tall, could blast off from Rocket Lab’s commercial launch pad as soon as 0130 GMT Saturday (8:30 p.m. EST Friday) at the opening of a four-hour launch window. The launch opportunity opens at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in New Zealand.
Rocket Lab says it has a wider window to launch the rocket, with four hours each day through Dec. 17.
Liftoff with three commercial CubeSat payloads was planned as soon as Thursday night, U.S. time, but officials said they needed more time.
The company transported the Electron vehicle to its launch base last month, after completing full-up hotfire testing. The launch team rehearsed countdown procedures last week, and practiced loading kerosene and liquid oxygen propellants into the rocket.
“We did a hotfire campaign as a big preparatory test, so all that was done over ...