Rocket Lab received permission from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to resume launches of the Electron launch vehicle. This is stated in a statement published on the official website of the company.
The Electron rocket’s last launch to date took place on May 15. The first stage worked in normal mode and successfully separated from the launcher and then landed in the ocean on a parachute. However, shortly after activation of the second stage engine, the onboard computer detected an anomaly and initiated a procedure to shut it down for safety reasons. This resulted in the loss of the rocket and payload.
According to a Rocket Lab press release, the analysis of telemetry showed that the anomaly was complex and was caused by a combination of several factors. The company’s engineers managed to reproduce the anomaly during tests, and they are now working to rule it out a repeat during future launches. At the same time, Rocket Lab representatives have not yet voiced what specific circumstances led to the engine shutdown.
The head of the company, Peter Beck, also shared some details about the condition of the returned first stage. According to him, the new heat shield successfully protected it during re-entry and examination of the engines did not reveal any significant abnormalities. In the near future, the company’s engineers will conduct a firing test to evaluate their performance.