Small satellite orbiting company Rocket Lab canceled its first launch in 2021 due to strange sensor readings before launch. The Electron booster was supposed to launch a microsatellite for the European space company OHB Group from the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand at 10:38 am Moscow time, but unexpected data from the accelerator’s inclinometer forced the company to postpone the mission.
“We have an inclinometer showing some strange data. It is not used for flight, but we still want to find out the reason, — wrote representatives of Rocket Lab in the updated information. “That’s the beauty of working on our own landfill — we have the luxury of extra time to delay launch and be completely confident.”
Rocket Lab has a 10-day window during which the company can make its first flight this year, titled Another Leaves the Earth’s Crust, from its # 1 launch pad. The mission will be the 18th Rocket Lab flight and should bring the number of successfully launched satellites into orbit to 97. “We are abandoning today’s mission to analyze sensor data, — added the company in another comment. – Fortunately, we have a 10-day window for this mission, so we have many opportunities to re-launch in the coming days. “.
As reported by Rocket Lab, the OHB Group’s communications microsatellite payload is designed to operate at specific frequencies and maintain future services from orbit. The launch is organized by OHB Cosmos, the launch contracts division for the OHB Group.
After placing the payload in a given orbit in this mission, the accelerator will enter the dense layers of the atmosphere at such a speed that it burns up and does not turn into space debris. In this mission, Rocket Lab, unlike the last one, will not attempt to return the first Electron stage to earth for later reuse.
Based in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab launched eight Electron missions in 2020 and is aiming to increase the launch frequency in 2021 with two new launch pads. Launch Complex # 2 at NASA’s Wallops Island, Virginia is expected to be used for the first time later this year. In the meantime, the company is building another site near Launch Complex 1 to increase its launch capabilities from the Mahia Peninsula.
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