Rocket Lab reports loss of Electron rocket after blasting off from Hawke's Bay

Rocket Lab's latest launch this morning hasn't gone to plan, with the company announcing "the loss of the vehicle" after it went into orbit. 

Hawke's Bay residents may have noticed something bright in the sky this morning abut 9.13am as the rocket lifted off from Mahia Peninsula.

The 'Pics Or It Didn't Happen' mission successfully made it to orbit, where it was to deliver a number of commercial satellites on behalf of four companies, but Rocket Lab announced about 9.44am that the rocket had been lost.

"An issue was experienced today during Rocket Lab's launch that caused the loss of the vehicle," the company wrote.

"We are deeply sorry to the customers on board Electron.

"The issue occurred late in the flight during the 2nd stage burn.

"More information will be provided as it becomes available."

Company co-founder and Kiwi Peter Beck said on Twitter that "we lost the flight late into the mission.

"I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today.

"Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon."

In a media release, Rocket Labs said the issue happened about four minutes into Electron's flight, resulting in the "safe loss of the vehicle.

"As a result, the payloads onboard Electron were not deployed to orbit. Electron remained within the predicted launch corridors and caused no harm to personnel or the launch site.

"Rocket Lab is working closely with the FAA to investigate the anomaly and identify its root cause to correct the issue to move forward."

Mr Beck again apologised to the four companies who had payloads onboard - Spaceflight Inc., Canon Electronics Inc., Planet, and In-Space Missions - saying "we know many people poured their hearts and souls into those spacecraft.

"The launch team operated with professionalism and expertise to implement systems and procedures that ensured the anomaly was managed safely.

"I'm proud of the way they have responded to a tough day.

"We're working together as a team to comb through the data, learn from today, and prepare for our next mission."

Rocket Lab's launch site is located right on the tip of the Mahia Peninsula at Ahuriri Point.

This was the third launch for Rocket Lab in New Zealand for 2020, and the company's 13th launch overall.

One of the satellites being delivered this morning belonged to Canon Electronics, and would have been used for high resolution imaging of Earth.

Rocket Lab has previously put satellites into space for customers including NASA and the USA.