After a run of 19 successful missions, Long Beach-based Rocket Lab’s 41st Electron launch failed last night due to an unknown “anomaly,” according to the company.
Dubbed “We Will Never Desert You,” the mission was meant to deliver an Acadia satellite for Capella Space as part of an existing constellation of high-resolution radar craft.
“We are deeply sorry to our partners Capella Space for the loss of the mission,” the company said in a statement.
The Electron rocket, which blasted off from New Zealand just before midnight Long Beach time after a brief hold for solar activity, successfully completed a first-stage burn and stage separation. But around three minutes and 10 seconds into the flight, the launch director announced an “anomaly”, which ultimately ended the mission.
The launch director has called an anomaly, resulting in the end of the mission. We'll share more information as it comes to hand.— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) September 19, 2023
Rocket Lab is working with the Federal Aviation Administration and other supporting agencies to investigate the cause of the malfunction “swiftly,” according to the statement.
The company’s next mission, which was slated to take off before the end of the third quarter, has been postponed while the investigation is ongoing and until corrective actions can be implemented. After its last failed launch on May 15, 2021, the company did not return to the pad for 75 days.
Following the failed mission, Rocket Lab’s stock prices have dipped nearly 8% from $5.04 per share to $4.46. The stock, however, remains up nearly 20% from the beginning of the year.
The company stated it will provide revised third-quarter revenue guidance in the coming days.
Last night’s mission was Rocket Lab’s fourth for Capella, following “We Love The Nightlife” on Aug. 24 and earlier missions in March of this year and August 2020. The company has delivered 171 satellites to orbit across 37 missions.