After a perfect launch from Rocket Lab's launch site on New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula on Sunday July 5, the electron missile's payload did not reach orbit after an anomaly occurred during the vehicle's second fire a few minutes after the flight started was.
Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab, described the mission's failure as a “hard day” for the team and apologized to Spaceflight, Canon Electronics, Planet and In-Space Mission for not putting their satellites – seven in total – into the Had brought orbit.
We lost the flight late in the mission. I am incredibly sorry that we have not delivered any satellites to our customers today. Rest assured, we'll find the problem, fix it, and be back on the pad soon.
– Peter Beck (@Peter_J_Beck), July 4, 2020
The exact problem remains to be resolved, although Rocket Lab said it occurred during the second stage combustion of the electron. More information will be provided as it becomes available, the company said.
A live video feed from the Electron rocket froze about 5 minutes and 45 seconds after the start of the flight, and about 45 seconds later, a launch agent uttered the threatening phrase: "Initiate a breakdown response plan."
"Today's anomaly is a reminder that the launch of space can be unforgiving," said a deeply disappointed Beck in a publication released on his website on Sunday. "The launch team worked with professionalism and expertise to implement systems and procedures that ensure that the anomaly is handled safely."
The CEO added that Rocket Lab engineers are now examining the failed mission data to "learn from today and prepare for our next mission."
The mission on Sunday entitled "Pictures or it didn't happen" was supposed to start a day earlier, but bad weather conditions forced a delay.
Rocket Lab has had an impressive series of successful missions recently to gain a foothold in addition to SpaceX in the launch of small satellites.