Rocket Lab’s 20th Electron mission failed and ended with a failed rocket


Rocket Lab Electron

Rocket Lab, YouTube

Rocket Lab launched the 20th mission called “Running out of Toes” on the weekend, but unfortunatelyBecame the second failure in a year. This mission is to launch BlackSky’s telemetry satellite. From launch to the separation of the first section of the rocket, everything looked normal, but just after the second section of the rocket was fired, the entire rocket began to spin wildly in place, and finally couldn’t get into orbit. It crashed into the atmosphere together with the payload. Fortunately, the second section of the rocket did not deviate from the original course. The first rocket has fallen into the water as originally planned and will be recovered by Rocket Lab.

In addition to apologizing, CEO Peter Beck also stated that he would find out the cause of the problem and “return to the launch pad safely” as soon as possible. In July 2020, Rocket Lab’s 13th mission failed. It was found that a contact was poorly connected, causing a short circuit. After that, the launch resumed on August 31, with only two months in between. If the cause of the failure can be confirmed quickly this time, it should be possible to resume launching soon.

In Electron’s current 20 launches, there are a total of three failures. Except for the aforementioned No. 13 mission and the earlier No. 20 mission, this is the first launch mission. But in fact, the failure of the first mission cannot be regarded as a problem of the rocket itself, but because of the interruption of communication with the rocket caused by the ground software, and finally the rocket had to be destroyed because of fear of losing control. In short, although Rocket Lab’s failure was unfortunate, it was not too unexpected. Rockets are originally high-tech and expensive things, and the tests that can be done before launch are relatively limited, so there has always been a high probability of failure. This is why the Falcon 9 that SpaceX has been advertised for repeated use is actually more reliable-the rockets that have flown naturally have confirmed that there is no loose wiring or mechanical failure.