Authorization

Rocket Lab clear to launch again after first mission failure attributed to electrical fault

Rocket Lab has received clearance to launch from the FAA following the failure of its Electron rocket on July 4 and the loss of the half-dozen satellites on board. CEO Peter Beck said that it was a “This was a very, very sneaky and tricky issue,” said CEO Peter Beck. “However, the issue is well understood by the team. We’re really looking forward to getting back on the pad.”
The failure, Beck explained on a call with press, was nowhere near as catastrophic as many such incidents are. While the payloads were lost in the vehicle’s uncontrolled descent, the rocket did not explode or break up suddenly as sometimes happens, but rather seems to have calmly shut itself down during the second stage burn due to “a single anomalous electrical connection.”
“We were just cruising on our way to orbit, traveling at about 4 km/s,” explained Beck, when a single part experienced higher than usual resistance, leading to heat buildup, which caused safety systems to step in and shut it down. “The shutdown was entirely automated — naturally we would do everything we could to try to ride it to orbit, and the vehicle made a tremendous amount of corrections to try to do that. But when you pull the plug, you pull the plug.”
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