Rocket laboratory overcame a major obstacle on the way to the launch pad.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has authorized Rocket Lab to resume launches less than three weeks after its launch. Electron accelerator suffered from serious anomalyThis was announced on Wednesday (June 2) by representatives of the California company. But Rocket Lab still needs to complete its investigation into the incidents before it can start flying again.
Electron is a small satellite launcher designed to carry payloads of up to 660 pounds. (500 kg) into low earth orbit. The rocket, 59 feet (18 meters) high, has two stages, the first of which is powered by nine Rutherford engines, and the second uses only one. Both stages run on liquid oxygen and purified kerosene.
Connected: Rocket Lab and its electron accelerator (photo)
The problem arose about 200 seconds after launching a mission called “Running Out of Toes” on May 15, which aimed to launch two Earth observation satellites for BlackSky. Both spaceships were lost.
IN Electron According to company representatives, the first stage of the rocket performed flawlessly during launch. The booster returned to Earth by parachute as planned for a soft landing in the ocean as part of Rocket Lab’s ambition to make the first Electron stages reusable. The company has rebuilt the accelerator and plans to use some of its components in future missions.
Something went wrong with “Running Out of Toes” right after the second stage engine caught fire. At this point, “the engine computer detected that flight conditions were not met and performed a safe shutdown,” Rocket Lab officials said. wrote in Wednesday update…
The FAA-overseen company is still investigating what exactly happened.
“With a vehicle with such a long history of flight, our serious mission assurance and focus on quality, any anomaly always had to be a complex failure, and that error turns out to be a complex and multi-level failure analysis,” said the founder and CEO of Rocket Lab. Peter Beck reported Wednesday.
“However, we successfully reproduced the failure during testing and determined that several conditions were required in flight,” he added. “We are now piecing together a sequence of events and preparing corrective actions to safely and quickly return to flight.”
“Running Out of Toes” got its name because it was Electron’s 20th mission. Electron also suffered from a mission completion anomaly during the 13th launch vehicle flight on July 4, 2020. Rocket Lab has linked this issue with poor electrical connection in the upper stage of the rocket and quickly returned to the site, successfully completing his next mission on 31 August.
Mike Wall is the author of “There“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the quest for alien life. Follow it on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.