Rocket Lab reviewing data after its second Electron failure in a year

Rocket Lab's Electron vehicle stands on the pad in New Zealand prior to Saturday's launch.

Enlarge / Rocket Lab’s Electron vehicle stands on the pad in New Zealand prior to Saturday’s launch. (credit: Rocket Lab)

Rocket Lab said Monday that it is continuing to review data from the flight of its 20th Electron launch, which failed to reach orbit after lifting off on Saturday, May 15.

In a news release on its website, the US-based company said the rocket experienced an anomaly “almost three minutes” into the launch of two BlackSky Global satellites, after the rocket’s first and second stages had separated.

“Preliminary data reviews suggest an engine computer detected an issue shortly after stage two engine ignition, causing the computer to command a safe shutdown as it is designed to do,” the company said. “The behavior had not been observed previously during Rocket Lab’s extensive ground testing operations, which include multiple engine hot fires and full mission duration stage tests prior to flight.”