The company’s Electron rocket carrying the CAPSTONE mission lifts off from New Zealand on June 28, 2022.
Rocket Lab The stock fell in premarket trading after the company suffered its first launch failure in more than two years early Tuesday morning.
The company confirmed that its 41st uncrewed Electron rocket launch – taking off from New Zealand and carrying the Acadia 2 satellite for San Francisco-based Capella Space – failed about 2 minutes and 30 seconds into the flight. Rocket Lab said it began working with the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate the root cause of the problem, which appears to have occurred when the rocket’s first and second stages separated.
“We are deeply sorry to our partner Capella Space for the loss of the mission,” Rocket Lab said in a statement.
Shares of Rocket Lab fell 26% in pre-market trading from their previous close of $5.04. The stock was up 34% for the year as of Monday’s close.
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The company’s 42nd Electron mission was scheduled to launch before the end of the third quarter. But Rocket Lab warned that it would be postponed while the launch failure was resolved. As a result, Rocket Lab plans to issue revised revenue guidance for the third quarter. In its second-quarter report, Rocket Lab forecast about $30 million in launch services revenue, a minority of its overall revenue forecast of between $73 million and $77 million, with the bulk expected to come from its space systems unit. .
Rocket Lab’s failure comes after the company established a steady pace of successful launches, becoming the second-most active U.S. rocket company behind Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The Electron rocket had not experienced a mission failure since May 2021, since then having completed 19 successful launches in 28 months.
A rocket may remain grounded for an indefinite period of time, with the length of investigations depending on the severity and complexity of the problem. After its previous launch failure, Rocket Lab launched its next Electron mission 70 days later.