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Satellite-Carrying Rocket ‘Failed To Reach Orbit’ After New Zealand Launch

Rocket Lab – New Zealand

Rocket Lab is a private American aerospace manufacturer and smallsat launch service provider with a wholly-owned New Zealand subsidiary. With approximately having less than 1000 employees. Launching from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand, the rocket’s test flights took place on 25 May 2017 and 21 January 2018, while its first commercial flight took place on 11 November 2018.

Rocket Lab is one of a growing group of launch companies looking to slash the cost of sending shoebox-sized satellites to low Earth orbit, building smaller rockets, and reinventing traditional production lines to meet a growing payload demand.

Pics Or It Didn’t Happen

The failed mission, the company’s 13th payload launch, had been named “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen”.

A rocket from small-satellite launch firm Rocket Lab failed to reach orbit minutes after a successful liftoff from New Zealand on Saturday, the company said, losing its payload of seven small satellites it had intended to carry to space.

“An issue was experienced today during Rocket Lab’s launch that caused the loss of the vehicle,” the company said on Twitter, adding more information will be shared as available.

“We are deeply sorry to the customers on board Electron,” the Auckland, New Zealand-based company mentioned. “The issue occurred late in the flight during the 2nd stage burn.”

The rocket’s altitude peaked at 121 miles (195 km) roughly seven minutes after liftoff before quickly decreasing, according to in-flight telemetry on the company’s live video feed.

It was aiming to send five tiny Earth-imaging satellites from Planet Labs, one microsatellite from Canon Electronics, and a CubeSat from British company In-Space Missions into a sun-synchronous orbit 310 miles above Earth.

“While it’s never the outcome that we hope for, the risk of a launch failure is one Planet is always prepared for,” Planet Labs said in a statement on Saturday, adding it looked “forward to flying on the Electron again” in the future.

In a statement on its website, Rocket Lab said it had experienced an “anomaly” four minutes into the flight and was working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States to identify the cause.

The rocket was carrying satellites for companies Spaceflight, Canon Electronics, Planet, and In-Space Missions, Peter Beck (CEO, CTO) said.

“Today’s anomaly is a reminder that space launch can be unforgiving, but we will identify the issue, rectify it, and be safely back on the pad as soon as possible.”

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