Rocket Lab’s 13th Electron launch has ended in disaster. The company reported that its “Pics Or It Didn’t Happen” mission failed during the second stage burn about four minutes into the flight, resulting in the loss of both the rocket as well as the seven satellites aboard. It’s not clear what went wrong, although the video feed (below) froze and showed a loss of altitude before Rocket Lab cut off live data. The team said it was working with the FAA to investigate the failure.
Company founder Peter Beck has apologized on Twitter for the incident, noting that he was “deeply sorry” to the customers who lost their payloads. He stressed that Rocket Lab would learn from what happened and that this was a reminder spaceflight was “unforgiving.” The firm isn’t expected to return to flight until after it determined what went wrong and what it can fix.