Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket suffers failure, loses payload of two satellites

Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket launches from New Zealand on Saturday, as seen on the company’s live video feed. | Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket failed to reach orbit after suffering an unexpected engine shutdown mid-flight on Saturday, losing the mission’s payload of two satellites, the company said. The launch from New Zealand was Electron’s 20th, and marked the company’s second mission failure in less than a year.

Electron, a roughly six-story tall rocket with two booster stages, lifted off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand at 7:11AM ET on Saturday, aiming to send a pair of Earth observation satellites for BlackSky into orbit. Two and a half minutes into flight, the rocket’s second stage booster successfully separated from its first stage and ignited for a few seconds before shutting down, indicating a problem…

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