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Rocket Lab: New Zealand mission lost in flight

Lift off

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Rocket Lab


The electron mission was lost late on the ascent from the Mahia Peninsula

The US launch company that flies its rockets from New Zealand has lost its most recent mission.

Rocket Lab said its electronic vehicle failed late in the ascent from the Mahia Peninsula on North Island.

All satellite payloads are believed to have been destroyed.

These included imaging spaceships from Canon Electronics in Japan and Planet Labs Inc, California, as well as a technology demonstration platform from a British startup called In-Space Missions.

Rocket Labs CEO Peter Beck apologizes to his customers.

“I am extremely sorry that we failed to deliver our customers̵

7; satellites today. I can be sure that we will find the problem, correct it and be back on the pad soon,” he said on Twitter.

Rocket Lab has had everyone in the space sector sit up since it debuted its Electron vehicle in 2017. It is at the forefront of a wave of new clothing that wants to drive compact rockets to serve the emerging market for small satellites.

Saturday’s lift-off from New Zealand was Electron’s 13th outing so far. All previous launches had been a complete success, simply the first one that failed to reach its intended trajectory.

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Missions in space


Faraday-1 was about 10 cm x 20 cm x 30 cm

What went wrong this time is unclear. Video footage showed the rocket’s second-stage engine, which normally worked five minutes and 40 seconds into the flight, at an altitude of 192 km and at a speed of 3.8 km / s. The video flow then froze.

The most important payload on board was a Canon Electronics satellite – part of a series the company produces for imaging features on the ground less than a meter across.

The planet, which operates the largest orbiting spacecraft network in orbit, attempted to loft five of its latest iteration of the satellite. Because the San Francisco company produces and launches so many spacecraft, it will be easier to bounce back from this failure.

But for Start-in-Space Missions, Electron’s loss is a big disappointment. Its Faraday-1 platform would be the showcase for the company’s new service.

Faraday-1 was a type of “car pool” satellite that allowed third parties to fly payloads into orbit without the requirement to build and finance an entire spacecraft themselves. They just needed to rent a “place” with In-Space.

The European aviation and rail giant Airbus had even taken a seat in Faraday-1 to try out new radio technology. Called Prometheus, this equipment would have conducted a radio frequency survey and scanned the world for emergency light and military radar activities.

Based in Bordon, Hampshire, In-Space tweeted: “The In-Space team is absolutely smitten by this news. Two years of hard work from an incredibly committed group of brilliant engineers up in smoke. It was really a really cool little spacecraft. “

Future assignments are already in production.

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Airbus Prometheus radio would have conducted radio spectrum studies

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @BBCAmos

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