Rocket Lab USA shares cratered in premarket trading in New York after its Electron rocket experienced an in-flight "anomaly" that resulted in the end of the mission.
An Electron rocket carrying a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) spacecraft for the California company Capella Space lifted off from Rocket Lab's New Zealand site Tuesday at 0255 ET. The company said lift-off from Launch Complex 1, first-stage burn, and stage separation were successful, but explained, "an issue was experienced at around T+ 2 minutes and 30 seconds into flight, resulting in the end of the mission."
Electron has cleared Max-Q.— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) September 19, 2023
"The launch director has called an anomaly, resulting in the end of the mission. We'll share more information as it comes to hand," Rocket Lab posted on X around 0300 ET.
The launch director has called an anomaly, resulting in the end of the mission. We'll share more information as it comes to hand.— Rocket Lab (@RocketLab) September 19, 2023
Space.com said Electron's single Rutherford engine might have "suffered an ignition failure or a premature shutdown, though that's just speculation."
The company said, "We are deeply sorry to our partners Capella Space for the loss of the mission."
Rocket Lab shares plunged as much as 19% in premarket trading.
Tuesday's mission was dubbed "We Will Never Desert You." And it's the ninth of the year and 41st overall.
"We are working closely with the FAA and supporting agencies as the investigation into the root cause commences," Rocket Lab noted.
Maybe Capella Space will try SpaceX next time.