Rocket Lab, a Los Angeles-based spaceflight company, has recently called off its first commercial electron vehicle launch, due to a system glitch and bad weather. The private company’s CEO, Peter Beck, tweeted on Saturday, June 23, that his team was unable to resolve an issue with one of their down range tracking dishes in the Catham Islands. “Ironically this was also required for a solid live stream,” he said.

Although Rocket Lab did manage to take care of the troublesome dishes, the launch was once again called off, but this time due to the weather.

At the time of writing, the private company's website announces that the new target for launch, which was originally set to live stream on Monday, is now no earlier than 8:30 PM ET on Tuesday, June 26.

Cheaper, smaller electron vehicle

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab’s game plan is to lift smaller and cheaper rockets into space. Unlike Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, which are big, recyclable rockets, Rocket Lab’s Electron is made of lightweight and 3D printing materials.

The company’s first commercial launch was initially scheduled for April 19 from the company’s seaside Launch Complex 1 on Māhia Peninsula in New Zealand. The Electron can only carry up to 225 kgs of payload, while other larger rockets generally carry thousands to tens of thousands of pounds of load.

According to Space, Rocket Lab is planning to charge at least $5.5 million for each flight from its New Zealand headquarter, which is licensed to launch every 72 hours.

‘It’s Business Time’

If successful, Electron’s launch into orbit will be Rocket Lab’s third test flight and its first commercial flight. The first test was launched in May 2017, called “This Is A Test,” in which the mini launcher blasted off but did not reach orbit due to a ground equipment issue. The second flight successfully reached orbit earlier in January this year in an operation called “Still Testing.

For the third flight, dubbed “It’s Business Time”, the Electron will be carrying several payloads: two ocean-tracking nanosatellites for a company called Spire, a weather-tracking satellite for GeoOptics Inc., and the prototype satellite NABEO.

A series of cancellation

The Mid-April launch was postponed for a few weeks because of a technical issue. During an interview at the 34th Space Symposium at the Broadmoor in Colorado, the company’s CEO, Peter Beck, told Space News what had happened. Their engineers detected an unusual behavior in a motor controller for one of the nine engines in the first stage.

Peter decided to delay the launch and take some time to review the data. The Electron rocket uses a two-stage all composite booster that is powered by 3D-printed Rutherford engines that are running on a mixture of liquid oxygen and kerosene.

The space race

A handful of experiments are recently making headlines in today's space race. SpaceX's Falcon 9, yet to be the final version, have made successful launches over the past few years. Elon Musk's idea of using recyclable rockets to minimize the cost of space exploration is being refined continuously. Blue Origin, a space exploration company owned by Jeff Bezos, is joining the flock. The company has successfully launched the New Shepard rocket for the eighth time. Also in April, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic launched the VMS Unity space plane in California's Mojave Desert, just three and a half years after the fatal crash of SpaceShipTwo. Rocket Lab plans to live stream its launch from its website, and current updates are expected from the company's Twitter feed.