Rocket Lab is back in business again. The private spaceflight company on Sunday achieved its first successful rocket launch since a failed plane on July 5 after seven satellites owned by three companies were damaged during a second-stage fire.
The latest mission, called I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical, has installed a 100kg-class microsatellite for the San Francisco-based Capella space, an information services agency that provides Earth observation data on demand.
Perfect mission. Electrons have placed the Sequoia satellite in orbit for the Capella space. Had a great day to go to space? ?????? Isentbelivits NotAptical #IcanBelivitesITOrbit pic.twitter.com/1qdJ2Y7EOC
– Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) August 31, 2020
Rocket Lab’s Electron Rocket left the launch site on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand at 8:05 a.m. Sunday, August 30 PT (31:05 p.m. local time Monday, August 31)
The mission has already missed two launch schedules in recent days due to bad weather, but luckily the situation was largely settled for this latest effort, with clear blue skies all around. The launch is here:
July’s failed mission, which was blamed on an “exceptional electrical connection”. Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck has been asked to post a personal video message apologizing to customers who had the satellite. He promised to resolve the matter to return to operations quickly.
Beck founded Rocket Lab in 2006 in an attempt to capture a share of the market in Raiders for small-satellite launches using his specially built electron rocket. Other companies like SpaceX and Virgin Orbit are working in the same field.
Similar to SpaceX, Rocket Lab is building a reusable rocket system to help reduce operating costs. But where SpaceX’s system landed the first stage booster shortly after launch – it landed like this today and you can see it here – Rocket Lab plans to use a helicopter with a jumping hook to pull a falling booster out of the sky as it lands Comes back. It recently demonstrated achievement in a test run using a dummy rocket. As the system was not yet ready, the booster recovery was not involved in Sunday’s mission.