Tonight, US spaceflight startup Rocket Lab is set to launch its experimental Electron rocket for the second time. The test flight will validate if the vehicle is ready for sending small commercial payloads to orbit. The rocket is slated to take off from the company’s launch facility in New Zealand, sometime after 2:30PM NZT (9:30PM ET). And unlike the Electron’s first test flight, we’ll get to see this one go up live.
Though, it’s possible this vehicle may not get off the ground today: Rocket Lab has cautioned that since this is a test flight, the company won’t fly unless conditions are more than ideal for launch and only if the rocket is truly ready. Plus, Rocket Lab has a 10-day launch window for this vehicle, and it has the option to fly sometime during a four-hour slot starting at 2:30PM NZT each day. So the Electron could go up today — or sometime next week.
The company’s live stream won’t go live until 15 minutes prior to launch, too, so you’ll want to keep your eye on Rocket Lab’s Twitter to see when this vehicle tries to make it to space. If this launch goes well, Rocket Lab may consider itself done with test flights altogether and forge ahead with commercial missions. The company plans to live stream those launches, too, so expect many more shows from New Zealand next year.