Rocket Lab's lost rocket won't impact business viability - CEO Peter Beck

Source: 1News

Rocket Lab’s lost vehicle is not an uncommon occurrence and will not affect the viability of the business, says co-founder and CEO Peter Beck.

The company announced "the loss of the vehicle" this morning after the 'Pics Or It Didn't Happen' mission successfully made it to orbit to deliver satellites - before the spacecraft went missing.

Mr Beck said the spacecraft, which was launched from Rocket Lab’s pad in the Hawke’s Bay, was insured.

The cost of a standard electron mission generally starts at $11.5 million.

"This is very common, this is the way the launch industry works.

"If you look back in history just about every launch vehicle in history experiences one failure and if you look at our track record compared to most, we're a standout," Mr Beck told 1 NEWS.

"(It) hurts our pride more than anything but doesn’t affect our business or viability thereof."

This morning, Mr Beck apologised to the four companies - Spaceflight Inc., Canon Electronics Inc., Planet, and In-Space Missions – who had payloads on board.

"The financial loss here is generally covered from our customers by insurance. but the bigger loss for us as a company is the time it'll take to investigate it fully and make the corrective action to the launch vehicle," Mr Beck said.

In a media release, Rocket Labs said the issue happened about four minutes into Electron's flight, resulting in the "safe loss of the vehicle".

"We won’t put another vehicle in the sky until we're really, really happy and we've got thousands of channels of data to trawl through to figure out root cause."

Mr Beck apologised on Twitter this morning, saying he was "incredibly sorry that we failed to deliver our customers satellites today".

"Rest assured we will find the issue, correct it and be back on the pad soon."

Hawke's Bay residents may have noticed something bright in the sky this morning abut 9.13am as the rocket lifted off from Mahia Peninsula at Ahuriri Point.