Weather delays Rocket Lab's first US launch from Virginia to Tuesday

Electron is scheduled to launch its first mission from U.S. soil at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Tuesday. The rocket will deploy satellites for HawkEye 360. Rocket Lab has dubbed this mission "Virginia is for Launch Lovers."

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – Rocket Lab has launched more than 150 satellites into orbit, but the company's Electron rocket is ready to blast off from U.S. soil for the first time.

Rocket Lab is now targeting Tuesday between 6-8 p.m. ET to launch its first Electron rocket from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

The launch was planned for Monday, but rain and strong winds at the Virginia launch site forced Rocket Lab to push the launch to Tuesday. 

This isn't the first weather delay for the first U.S. Electron launch. The company hoped to get the rocket off the ground in December. Unfortunately, the weather near the Wallops Island launch site did not cooperate, and Rocket Lab was forced to push the launch into 2023.

Rocket Lab joins a growing number of spaceflight operators blasting off up and down the U.S. East Coast.

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Rocket Lab has been launching from New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula since 2017. Electron now has a second home at the Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

When it happens, the rocket will deploy satellites for geoanalytics provider HawkEye 360.

Rocket Lab has dubbed the upcoming mission "Virginia is for Launch Lovers" as an ode to the company's first launch from the state.

Who will be able to see the launch?

Depending on the weather, the Electron rocket launch should be visible to people up and down the East Coast.

Rain moved into the East Coast Sunday and is forecast to continue in Virginia through Monday morning up and down the I-95 corridor causing the launch delay to Tuesday.

Thankfully, the forecast will provide a nice break for Rocket Lab on Tuesday.

As of the latest launch forecast, the weather is expected to be 90% favorable on Tuesday for the two-hour launch window. Wind speeds will be around 0 to 5 mph. 

Those in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware have the best chance to see the launch in person. Robert Reed Park, the NASA Visitor Center at Wallops or Virginia, Maryland and Delaware beaches are good options for launch viewing, according to NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.

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With two operational launch pads in New Zealand, Rocket Lab is headquartered in Long Beach, California, and building a manufacturing facility at Wallops for its Neutron rocket. 

Rocket Lab will carry a live stream of the launch about 40 minutes before the launch window opens. 

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