The two stages Electron booster rose from the ground at the Rocket Lab launch site in New Zealand at 5:19 p.m. EST (9:19 a.m. GMT; 21:19 p.m. New Zealand time), carrying seven terrestrial imagery satellites aloft , including five payloads for the satellite imagery company Planet, as well as a satellite for Canon Electronics and one for space missions based in the United Kingdom. However, a problem with the combustion of the second stage rocket engine resulted in the loss of the seven payloads.Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck apologized for the failure on Twitter. “I am extremely sorry that we did not deliver our customers’ satellites today”, he wrote on Twitter. “Rest assured that we will find the problem, fix it and come back to the pavement soon. “Video: Watch the Rocket Lab launch just before it reaches orbit
The launch seemed to go as planned for the crucial first few minutes of flight. Then, about six minutes after launch, the rocket’s live video stream froze. At the moment, the company’s live broadcast showed that the rocket began to lose speed and altitude. That’s when Rocket Lab cut off the live video stream.
The company announced shortly afterwards on Twitter that there was a problem with the rocket and that the payloads had been lost.
A problem occurred today during the launch of Rocket Lab which caused the loss of the vehicle. We are deeply sorry for the customers on board Electron. The problem occurred late in the flight during the 2nd floor burn. More information will be provided as soon as it becomes available. July 4, 2020
Rocket Lab was originally scheduled to launch this Electron on Friday July 3, but delayed the flight to Sunday July 5 due to inclement weather. But new weather forecasts have prompted Rocket Lab to move the launch a day earlier – a rarity in the spaceflight industry. (Typically, launch dates are more distant than advanced.)
The mission, the 13th flight for Rocket Lab, was named ” The photos where it didn’t happen“To give a tip of the hat to the seven Earth imagery satellites on board the rocket. Today’s flight marked the second launch of the California-based rocket manufacturer in just three weeks. It was the fastest turnaround time for the business between missions to date.
The main payload on board was Canon Electronics CE-SAT-IB – a small satellite loaded with high-resolution, wide-angle cameras for taking pictures of the Earth. Inside the Electron nose cone were also five SuperDove Earth imagery satellites from Planet. The last payload was a small satellite called Faraday-1, from In-Space Missions, which contained a suite of instruments from a group of organizations that needed space travel.
“The In-Space team is absolutely flabbergasted by this news”, In-Space a tweeté shortly after the incident was announced. “Two years of hard work by an incredibly committed group of brilliant engineers. It was really a very cool little spaceship. ”
Planet CEO Will Marshall also announced the loss of its satellites on Twitter, while noting that the company plans to launch more of its satellites this summer on two separate launches. “Although this is never the result we hope for, the risk of launch failure is that for which Planet is always prepared”, the company said in a statement. These launches are expected to be launched into orbit atop a European Vega rocket as well as a Falcon 9.
Since its formation, Rocket Lab has launched a total of 53 spacecraft on 12 separate missions, and the majority of these flights have been successful. Only the company’s very first flight, launched in 2017, could not reach orbit due to a telemetry problem, not a problem with the rocket. All other flights were successful.
The company will need to determine the cause of the anomaly, as it has big plans for the future, including an upcoming mission to the moon. Society should launch a cubesat on the moon in 2021 under a NASA contract worth $ 9.95 million. This flight is scheduled to take off from the company’s U.S. launch site at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
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