Rocket Lab said it is now aiming to launch a pair of NASA satellites into low-Earth orbit late Thursday. Photo courtesy of Rocket Lab
May 24 (UPI) -- Weather has again delayed a Rocket Lab launch from New Zealand of two NASA weather-tracking satellites, officials said.
The launch was scheduled for 12 a.m. EDT Thursday from Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula along the archipelago nation's east coast. The mission was called off hours before the scheduled liftoff as preparations were underway and on track to meet the opening of the launch window.
"Due to strong upper-level winds present throughout the count and expected to remain at the launch's targeted lift-off, Rocket Lab's launch director called a scrub before fueling the electron rocket," Rocket Lab and NASA said in a joint statement.
Officials had earlier cautioned that upper-level winds were a watch item.
Rocket Lab launched and deployed two of four storm-tracking CubeSats for NASA earlier this month, with a launch of the second pair first scheduled for early this week, but weather has repeatedly delayed the mission.
NASA and Rocket Lab are now targeting 11:30 p.m. Thursday at the earliest for the launch.
The mission is the second of two launches of shoebox-sized satellites into low-Earth orbit that will create a constellation of tropical cyclone monitoring satellites for NASA which are known by the acronym TROPICS, meaning Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats.
According to NASA, the satellites will provide data on temperature, precipitation, water vapor and clouds by measuring microwave frequencies. The information is expected to shed light on storm formation and intensification -- information to help scientists better understand how high-impact storms function, which could lead to better modeling and predictions.