Rocket Lab is working closely with the US Federal Aviation Administration to find out why it lost the rocket carrying seven small satellites during this morning's launch on the East Coast.
It lost the rocket during its latest launch off the Mahia Peninsula.
Seven satellites from Japan, the US and the UK lifted off around 9.20am - a day earlier than planned because of bad weather due later this week.
The company's founder Peter Beck is apologising to the satellite owners, after the problem with the rocket became obvious just four minutes into the flight.
He said the incident is a reminder that space launches can be unforgiving but he says the issue will be rectified and the rocket will be back on the launch pad as soon as possible.
Beck said the company will find out what the issue was, "correct it and be back on the pad soon".
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.— Peter Beck (@Peter_J_Beck) July 4, 2020
However, Rocket Lab said a problem occurred late in the flight during the second stage burn and the Electron rocket was lost.
It's the company's first failure.
It's apologising to customers that had satellites on board Electron.
An issue was experienced today during Rocket Lab's launch that caused the loss of the vehicle. 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.— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) July 4, 2020
Here’s the moment the video feed from Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle ended & live telemetry appeared to show the rocket stopped accelerating.— Spaceflight Now (@SpaceflightNow) July 4, 2020
The data feed showed the rocket reached a peak altitude of 194.8 kilometers before falling back to Earth.https://t.co/GMLbgXLtm5 pic.twitter.com/mCydc8XJzI
LIFT-OFF of our 13th Electron launch!— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) July 4, 2020
Electron's flight computers haven taken over the countdown and all systems are GO for launch! T-2 mins to lift-off. pic.twitter.com/5PNZMLzgPl— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) July 4, 2020
The launch included a 67-kilogram earth-imaging satellite for Canon Electronics to photograph objects on the ground as small as 90 centimetres wide.
It also included five shoebox-sized Earth observation satellites, for the San Francisco company Planet, which already has a fleet 120 of them.
It's almost time to go to space! Today's mission will see seven small sats launched to a 500 km circular orbit for @SpaceflightInc customer @Canon, as well as small sat operators @planetlabs and @Heads_InSpace. pic.twitter.com/mMKENVBeLa— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) July 4, 2020