An Electron rocket built by Rocket Lab suffered a failure during a launch that took place at 1111 GMT on 15 May from Mahia Peninsula, New Zealand. The anomaly occurred post ignition of the second-stage. Seconds after ignition, the single Rutherford engine shut down resulting in the loss of the upper-stage and its payload. On board this mission were two BlackSky Global Earth-imaging satellites.
This was the first of four dedicated Electron flights contracted by BlackySky through launch service provider Spaceflight Inc. The Electron last suffered an anomaly in July 2020, also involving the rocket’s second-stage. On that occasion, the engine shut down prematurely six minutes after lift-off.
The secondary aspect of this launch: a second attempt at recovery of a first stage was successful. The first stage parachuted to a splashdown in the ocean and was fished out of the drink by a recovery vessel.