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Why Rocket Lab's launch was aborted seconds before lift-off

Rocket Lab says its launch yesterday was aborted due to rising liquid oxygen (LOx) temperatures feeding into one of the Electron's nine engines.

The launch attempt was aborted two seconds before lift-off from its range on Mahia Peninsula between Gisborne and Napier.

It says it will attempt to launch again tomorrow - after 2.30pm - and that the 17m rocket or pad equipment wasn't damaged.

The company said the slight LOx temperature increase was a result of a ''LOx chill-down bleed schedule'' that was not compatible with the warm weather.

Rocket Lab has modified the bleed schedule to ensure components are sufficiently chilled ahead of the new launch attempt tomorrow.

While the temperatures were within safe parameters for launch, Rocket Lab had set conservative parameters for test flights that led to the vehicle performing a safe auto-sequence abort.

Founder and chief executive Peter Beck said the rapid abort showed the advantage of electric-turbopump engine technology, which could shut down significantly faster than traditional turbopump engines.

"Electron performed as it should if it detects anything off-nominal during the auto-sequence and the electric turbopumps shut down in milliseconds.''

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