Things didn’t go as expected after the launch of the Rocket Lab Electron. That’s after a hiccup not long after its liftoff. Consequently, the rocket did not reach the orbit. As a result of that, the seven small satellites belonging to three different individuals did not reach their destinations as well. The event took place on July 4.
During that fateful day, the launch took place at 9.19 local New Zealand time, which was exactly 5:19 p.m. EST or 0919 GMT. It ascended from the Rocket Lab of New Zealand. That two-stage Electron booster was carrying seven satellites. The owner of two of the satellites was In-Space Missions of U.K. and Canon Electronics. The other five payloads belonged to Planet, which is a renowned satellite imaging company. Will Marshall, CEO of Planet, also shared the news of that loss via Twitter. Time will tell if that will affect the plans that they had of launching more satellites. Regardless, he said that the company is always prepared for risk associated with launch failure but always hopes for the best.
Peter Beck, the CEO of Rocket Lab, apologized for the incident via a tweet. The things seemed normal during the launch until its video feed froze 6 minutes into it. That was as soon as the love broadcaster realized that the rocket was losing not only the speed but also the altitude. Consequently, it cut the video feed. Engineers are also frustrated, given the fact that they have worked on the project for two years.
It is important to note that the launch was scheduled for July 3. However, due to weather constraints, that changed to July 5 before they eventually settled for July 4. It was the 13th Rocket Lab mission, Pics or it Didn’t Happen, and unfortunately, it was not a success. It was the second flight from the rocket builder in 3 weeks. It was also the first flight to be launched within such a short turnaround time.
It is not the first time that Rocket Lab is launching missions, and neither is it the first time that a flight is failing. As a matter of fact, its first flight, which occurred in 2017, was also not a success. Due to a telemetry issue, it didn’t reach the orbit too. However, that is a negligible percentage because they have launched around 53 spacecraft so far. They have been launched in 12 separate missions.
As much as the company has big future plans, there is a need to know what transpired. In 2021, it will be launching a CubeSat to the moon next year. This is part of the $9.95 million contracts with NASA. The launch venue will be the Wallops Flight Facility of NASA situated in Virginia.