The first launch of the Electron rocket from Wallops Island has been postponed to January

Weather problems prevented the launch of the Electron rocket from Wallops Island. New Year’s restrictions on flights are now taking effect, so the launch is postponed to January. How this will affect the plans of Rocket Lab is unknown.

Ракета Electron готується до старту
The Electron rocket is being prepared for launch. Source: SpaceNews/Jeff Foust

Postponing the start of Electron

The first launch of the Electron rocket from Launch Pad 2, located on Wallops Island, will not take place. Previously, Rocket Lab had launched this lightweight carrier only from Launch Pad 1, located in New Zealand, and even caught it once by helicopter.

The launch from Wallops Island was supposed to greatly expand the company’s capabilities. It was originally scheduled for December 16. However, due to weather conditions, the company postponed this launch to the 18th of the same month. But the winds at altitude were too strong, and it became clear that the rocket would not be put into orbit that day.

December 20 was the last day before New Year’s travel restrictions came into force. However, Rocket Lab decided not to risk it, but to postpone the start until the new year. It will take place on an as yet unspecified date in January 2023.

Rocket Lab plans

It was to be the tenth launch for Rocket Lab this year. Three HawkEye 360 satellites designed for radio frequency monitoring were to be launched into orbit. Ii was such devices, that in February 2022 registered Russia’s attempts to jam the GPS on the border with Ukraine.

The delay in the launch greatly soured the mood of Rocket Lab management. They compared it to a baby teething, implying that this is the first launch of their missile from North America and that all the “childhood diseases” got activated. In particular, the rocket could be launched even before the onset of bad weather. However, the company waited a long time for its certification.

In 2023, Rocket Lab planned to conduct 4 to 6 commercial Electron launches from Wallops. How these intentions will have to be adjusted is now unknown. After all, the company still has Pad 1 in New Zealand, and they can always shift the launch there.

According to