SpaceX rival gets approval to launch again after September discrepancy

Following an in-flight anomaly during an Electron launch in September, Rocket Lab has been granted FAA authorization to resume its launch operations, with returns anticipated this quarter.

Rocket Lab, headquartered in Long Beach, California, announced the regulatory approval and renewed license on October 25 Press releaseAdding that, despite being headed for launch, it is still “finalizing a careful review of the root cause of the anomaly, a process that includes a comprehensive fault tree to eliminate all possible causes of the anomaly.” “Including working through, as well as completing a broader task.” “Test campaign to revive the issue at the grassroots level.”

The anomaly occurred on September 19. The 41st launch of the company’s 59-foot-tall (18 m tall) light lift launch vehicle, during the “We Will Never Desert You” mission. The normally reliable Electron is designed to deliver satellites into low Earth orbit. The flight anomaly, which resulted in the loss of the Capella Space synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite, broke a streak of 20 consecutive successful Electron missions. Rocket Lab’s Electron is the second most used U.S. launch vehicle on an annual basis, serving government and commercial satellite operators around the world.

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The rocket failed shortly after the second stage engine ignited, about two and a half minutes after launch from Rocket Lab’s Mahia Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. The data indicates that the Electron first stage performed as expected and was not the cause of the anomaly. Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said: “After more than 40 launches, the Electron is a proven, mature design with a well-established manufacturing process behind it, so we knew that a mistake was going to be something complex and extremely rare. Was.” “It has been presented before in testing or flight.” Beck’s comments suggest a series of events, not a single root cause, is responsible for this discrepancy, although no further details were given.

As noted, Rocket Lab is still finalizing a detailed review of the root cause of the anomaly. The FAA is overseeing Rocket Lab’s accident investigation, ensuring compliance with FAA-approved plans and other regulatory requirements. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also has official observer status for this investigation. The full review is expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

as spacenews reportsRocket Lab is set to release its third-quarter financial results on Nov. 8, which could shed light on the financial impacts of the launch failure. Indeed, the electron needs to take flight again, and take flight again soon. The company has dozens of contracted missions, including deliveries for Northstar Earth and Space, NASA, Hawkeye 360 ​​and Kinesis.

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