The private spaceflight company Rocket Lab postponed the launch of an Electron rocket carrying four small satellites Friday (Aug. 16) due to high winds at the booster’s New Zealand launch site.
Rocket Lab initially hoped to launch the Electron’s mission, called “Look Ma, No Hands,” from the Māhia Peninsula during a 100-minute window that opened at 8:57 a.m. EDT (1257 GMT), but ground winds were just too strong.
“We are standing down from today’s launch attempt due to weather. Surface level winds are 30% over limit,” Rocket Lab representatives wrote in a Twitter update. “We have plenty of back up opportunities in the coming days though. A new target launch day/time will be advised soon.”
Rocket Lab has a 14-day window in which to launch the “Look Ma, No Hands” mission. Each day the launch slips, the liftoff time will move about 30 minutes earlier, company representatives said.
The upcoming launch will mark the eighth flight of a Rocket Lab Electron, a 57-foot tall (15 meters) booster designed to launch small satellites into low-Earth orbit. The rocket is optimized to launch payloads of up 500 lbs. (227 kilograms), and can haul multiple tiny, boxy cubesats at a time. There are four cubesats riding aboard the “Look Ma, No Hands” mission.
Electron’s payload includes an ocean-monitoring cubesat for the French company UnseenLabs, which aims to build a network of the “maritime surveillance” satellites for customers on Earth. Another Earth-imaging satellite, the BlackSky Global-4, is also part of a growing satellite network for the Seattle-based company BlackSky.
The final two cubesats are prototypes built for the U.S. Air Force Space Command to test new technologies in orbit.