SYDNEY : Rocket Lab on Friday said it had launched its Electron rocket into space from a site in New Zealand, the SpaceX rival’s first flight since a mission failure in September.
The rocket, carrying a satellite for the Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, a Japan-based Earth imaging company, blasted off from a launch pad on the country’s North Island about 5:05 p.m. local time (0405 GMT).
After passing through standard mission milestones, it fired a “kick stage” to lift the satellite into its final orbit about 9 minutes into the flight, to cheers in the mission control room. The satellite reached orbit about 50 minutes later.
The previous mission, the Electron’s 41st, failed about 2 1/2 minutes into its flight as it carried a satellite from synthetic-aperture radar company Capella Space toward orbit. It was Rocket Lab’s first mission failure in over two years.
The mission on Friday, dubbed “The Mood God Awakens” in recognition of its payload TSUKUYOMI-I, named after the Japanese god of the moon, is Rocket Lab’s 10th Electron launch this year, the company said, compared with nine in 2022.
Rocket Lab has said it would try to recover the Electron boosters as part of its bid to reuse rockets.