The failed mission had been named “Pics or It Didn’t Happen”.
A Rocket Lab Electron booster failed to reach orbit while attempting to launch seven small satellites for three different customers on Saturday (4 July 2020).
The two-stage Electron booster rose off the pad at Rocket Lab’s New Zealand launch site at 5:19 p.m. EST (0919 GMT; 9:19 p.m. local New Zealand time), carrying seven Earth-imaging satellites aloft, including five payloads for satellite-imaging company Planet, as well as a satellite for Canon Electronics and one for UK-based In-Space Missions. But a problem during the rocket’s second-stage engine burn led to the loss of all seven payloads.
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 ElectronRocket Lab
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck apologized for the failure on Twitter. “I am incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today,” he wrote on Twitter. “Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon”. It was aiming to send five tiny Earth imaging satellites from Planet Labs, one micro-satellite from Canon Electronics, and a Cube-Sat from British company In-Space Missions into a sun-synchronous orbit 310 miles above Earth.
The failed mission, the company’s 13th payload launch, had been named “Pics or It Didn’t Happen”.
Rocket Lab was originally scheduled to launch this Electron on Friday (July 3), but delayed the flight to Sunday (July 5) due to bad weather. But a new weather outlook prompted
Rocket Lab to move the launch one day earlier a rarity in the spaceflight industry. The In Space team is absolutely gutted by this news In Space tweeted shortly after the incident was announced. “Two years of hard work from an incredibly committed group of brilliant engineers up in smoke. It really was a very cool little spacecraft”. “While it’s never the outcome that we hope for, the risk of 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.