FAA Approves Rocket Lab for Further Launches After Rocket Launch Anomaly

16th Jun 2021
FAA Approves Rocket Lab for Further Launches After Rocket Launch Anomaly

The Federal Aviation Administration allows Rocket Lab to conduct further launches three weeks after its latest rocket launch anomaly that resulted in losing the client’s payload. Even though technically, the company’s launch license was never suspended, the FAA called for a rigorous anomaly investigation.

Rocket Lab Investigation of Latest Rocket Launch Anomaly

According to Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and CEO, their Electron carrier has a long success history, so when the rocket launch anomaly occurred, the team understood that they would have to analyse something very complex. Right now, the team is working on detailed fault analysis and hopes to submit a full review in the coming weeks.

Mr. Beck adds that the company managed to replicate the rocket launch anomaly and found that it depends on several in-flight conditions. The initial failure happened on 15th May, during Rocket Lab’s 20th mission since 2017. The rocket lifted off successfully, ignited the first stage, and separated the second one. However, a few seconds later, the second-stage engine experienced an anomaly and carried out a safety shutdown.

Rocket Lab retrieved its first rocket stage and discovered that it performed flawlessly during the flight. Additional rocket launch tests proved that the anomaly had nothing to do with Electron’s first stage. Right now, the company plans to re-fly first-stage components on future missions. This year, Rocket Lab should also conduct the third recovery mission for its reusable Electron carrier.

Rocket Lab & Electron Success Rate so Far

Before its latest rocket launch anomaly, Electron carried out 17 successful orbital missions. To date, the company has already deployed over a hundred satellites into calculated orbits, and Electron remains the fourth most frequently launched rocket in the world. Given the company’s previous success history, we can assume that the Rocket Lab Electron rocket launch anomaly will soon be addressed.

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