On July 4, the Electron rocket of Rocket Lab failed to achieve its milestone to the orbit due to a problem in its second stage burn.
The rocket lifted off at 5.19 pm Eastern. The launch took place in the company’s Launch Complex 1 at Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand. Originally, this launch was scheduled for July 3, but due to the poor weather, it was rescheduled.
The initial stages of the lift-off went well, except that maximum dynamic pressure showed to be rougher than required. The onboard video of the first stage take-off separation shows material appearing to peel from the rocket. The video froze after the three minutes of the second stage burn. Almost after 6 and a half minute, the launch controller said, “Initiating mishap response plan.”
“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 company tweeted about 25 minutes after liftoff. “The issue occurred late in the flight during the 2nd stage burn. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”
The rocket altitude was observed to be declining from 194 km to less than 165 km for 1 and a half minute. The webcast was ended after eleven minutes of lift-off by the company itself. Two minutes after the second stage burn, when it should have kicked off, it deployed.
“We lost the flight late into the mission. I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab. He added, “Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon.”
“This launch is very critical for Canon Electronics as we are launching a satellite where we have remarkably increased the ratio of in-house development of components compared to the previous launch,” said Nobutada Sako, group executive of the Satellite Systems Lab at Canon Electronics said in a pre-launch release.