The California-based aerospace manufacturer Rocket Lab launched the Electron rocket from Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. Dubbed 'Pics or It Didn’t Happen’, the mission saw the Electron rocket carry seven small satellites, including those from Planet and Canon. The latter was also the primary payload provider.
However, late into the mission, Electron ran into a critical problem that resulted in mission failure, and subsequently, the loss of all seven payloads on board. Among the lost payload was Canon's new Earth-imaging satellite and Planet's five satellites for its most advanced Earth-imaging constellation.
Specifically, during the rocket's Max-Q phase, the rocket experienced unexpected stress. Six minutes after liftoff from New Zealand, the live stream cut off, and the Electron was shown to be falling from its current altitude before the stream was cut short entirely. In a brief statement on Twitter, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck apologized to the payload owners and assured them that his company will leave no stone unturned in the effort to investigate the exact reasons for the mission's failure.
Beck reminded everyone that despite the fact that the Electron was one of the most frequently launched rockets (12 successful missions in all), space flight is still an unforgiving business. The company aims to be back on the launchpad once it irons out the issues that caused this mission to fail.