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Rocket Lab initiated its ‘Running Out Of Toes’ launch from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand on Saturday night.
The launch occurred at around 11.11pm, which was initially delayed due to weather windows.
It was Rocket Lab’s 20th Electron mission to date and a second of said-to-be three planned ocean splashdown recovery missions.
Electron was supposed to deploy two observation satellites set to look down at Earth for Spaceflight Inc’s BlackSky global monitoring network. BlackSky is the leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence and provides global services for monitoring.
Its upper stage started to tumble after its engine start, which followed a shutdown and separation of Electron’s first stage. The upper stage engine then cut off, which caused Rocket Lab to end its live webcast shortly after stating a loss of telemetry from the Electron rocket.
In a statement on Twitter, Rocket Lab apologised after the loss of mission.
“An issue was experienced during today’s launch, resulting in the loss of the mission,” it reads.
“We are deeply sorry to our launch customers BlackSky and Spaceflight. The issue occurred shortly after stage two ignition. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”
An issue was experienced during today’s launch, resulting in the loss of the mission. We are deeply sorry to our launch customers BlackSky and Spaceflight. The issue occurred shortly after stage two ignition. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) May 15, 2021
If successful, it had been understood that it would have taken on a series of complex maneuvers designed to fight against extreme heat. It hoped to compete with U.S. Rival SpaceX upon forces of atmospheric re-entry.
Running Out Of Toes is meant to be one of the first out of several launches pre-planned later this year, but this mission’s failure could compromise future launches, causing a re-think.
The CEO of Rocket Lab posted a photo to Twitter on May 11 with the enthusiasm of the Rocket in standby waiting for the launch that later happened and unfortunately folded over during the weekend.
“Good to go for launch this weekend,” he wrote.
Image: SUPPLIED/ Rocket Lab
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