A rocket from Rocket Lab, a company that launched small satellites, did not reach orbit minutes after a successful Saturday launch from New Zealand, the company said, losing its cargo of seven small satellites it intended to take to space. . “An issue occurred during the launch of Rocket Lab today that caused the loss of the vehicle,” the company said on Twitter, adding that more information will be available.
“We are very sorry to customers on Electron,” said the Auckland, New Zealand-based company. “The problem occurred late in flight during the 2nd phase combustion.” Rocket Lab is one of a growing group of launch companies looking to reduce the cost of shipping shoebox satellites to low Earth orbit, build smaller rockets, and reinvent traditional production lines to meet growing payload demand.
The rocket’s height peaked at 195 km (121 miles), about seven minutes after takeoff before descending rapidly, according to in-flight telemetry on the company’s live video feed. The aim was to acquire five small Earth-image satellites from Planet Labs, a micro-satellite from Canon Electronics Inc. and send a cube from the British company In-Space Missions to a sun-synchronous orbit, 310 miles above Earth.
“While it is never the result we hope for, the launch failure risk that Planet is always prepared for,” Planet Labs said in a statement on Saturday, adding that it looks forward “will be back on the Electron in the future to fly “.