Rocket Lab is back in business launching rockets, after an issue during its last launch in May caused a total loss of the payloads on board. The company was quick to investigate the issue, and announced just over a week ago that it had completed that work, identified the problem and implemented corrective action to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The launch today, which took off from the company’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, was an important one to get right: It delivered a satellite for the U.S. Space Force to low Earth orbit. This is the second Space Force mission that Rocket Lab has provided launch services for.
On board the Electron launch vehicle for this mission was a demonstration satellite called ‘Monolith,’ which is equipped with a new kind of deployable sensor that could, if it works as designed, pave the way for significantly smaller satellite buses in future spacecraft designs for things like weather and observation satellites.
This turnaround after a failed launch and loss of client payload is another benefit of Rocket Lab’s ability to quickly turnaround rockets and missions. It’ll definitely be under increased scrutiny for the next little while, however, considering that this latest mishap was the second ‘anomaly’ to result in mission failure in just under a year.