Rocket Lab returned its Electron rocket to flight July 29 with the successful launch of an experimental satellite for the U.S. Space Force.
Rocket Lab said June 2 that it is continuing to study the “complex failure” on its most recent Electron launch, even after receiving approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to resume launches.
Rocket Lab said an Electron rocket failed to reach orbit May 15 when the vehicle’s computer system detected a problem with the second stage engine and shut it down.
The next launch of Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket will be the second mission where the company attempts to recover the vehicle’s first stage as part of its efforts to reuse the booster.
Rocket Lab successfully launched a communications satellite for German company OHB Group Jan. 20 in the first Electron mission of the year.
Virgin Orbit has rescheduled its second orbital launch attempt for Jan. 10 as another small launch vehicle company, Rocket Lab, announces plans for its first launch of 2021.
Rocket Lab successfully launched the first satellite for a Japanese radar imaging startup, concluding a roller-coaster year for the small launch vehicle company.
Rocket Lab says its attempt to recover the first stage from its latest Electron launch was a “complete success,” but that the company still has work to do before it’s ready to attempt to reuse the stage.
Rocket Lab launched its Electron rocket Nov. 19, placing nearly 30 smallsats in orbit while making its first attempt to recover the rocket’s first stage.
Rocket Lab will try to recover the first stage of its Electron rocket on its next launch as the company continues its efforts to reuse that stage.