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Rocket ready to go, weather permitting

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/05/2017

New Zealand's first attempt to launch a rocket into space could be just hours away - it all depends on the weather.

The 10-day launch window started on Monday but high winds on the Mahia Peninsula, between Napier and Gisborne, prevented the rocket's roll-out.

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

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."

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