5 Jul 2020

Rocket Lab seeks answers on failed mission from US experts

2:02 pm on 5 July 2020

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.

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Photo: Rocket Lab

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".

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.

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.

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