Rocket Lab’s Electron launcher lifts off from New Zealand at 11:05 p.m. EDT Sunday (0305 GMT Monday). Credit: Rocket Lab
Flying for the first time since a failure in early July, Rocket Lab’s Electron launcher delivered Capella Space’s first commercial radar remote sensing satellite to orbit after lifting off from New Zealand Sunday.
The successful mission signaled a return to launch operations for Rocket Lab, a leader in the small satellite launch market, after suffering a failure on the last Electron flight July 4. Investigators traced the cause of the failure to a single faulty electrical connector on the second stage, which detached in flight and led to a premature engine shutdown.
The rocket re-entered the atmosphere and burned up, destroying seven small commercial satellites. It was Rocket Lab’s first failure since beginning commercial service, in which time the U.S.-based launch provider racked up 11 successful mission in a row.
Rocket Lab said last month it will implement improved testing to better screen for bad connectors, and the Electron rocket performed flawlessly Sunday.
The 55-foot-tall (17-meter), two-stage small satellite launcher took off at 11:05:47 p.m. EDT Sunday (0305:47 GMT Monday) from Rocket Lab’s privately-owned spaceport at Mahia Peninsula in New ...