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California firm’s rocket fails in launch from New Zealand

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Rocket Lab, which specializes in putting small satellites into orbit, failed to deploy a payload of seven satellites during its 13th launch, the Long Beach, California, company said Saturday.

The failure occurred during the second-stage burn approximately four minutes after the Electron rocket lifted off from the company’s launch site in Mahia, New Zealand.

The liftoff and first-stage burn and separation were successful, Rocket Lab said in a statement.

The company said it was investigating the cause of the failure, which followed 11 consecutive successful orbital launches by its Electron rockets.

The main satellite aboard the rocket was intended to demonstrate Canon Electronics Inc.’s Earth-imaging technology.

Before the failure, Rocket Lab said it was planning monthly launches for the remainder of the year and into 2021. Those missions include launches for the U.S. Space Force and NASA.

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