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Rocket Lab returns Electron to flight with Space Force launch
Posted: Sat, Jul 31, 2021, 10:17 AM ET (1417 GMT)
Electron launch of Monolith, July 2021 (Rocket Lab) Rocket Lab placed a satellite in orbit for the Space Force early Thursday on the first Electron launch since a May failure. The Electron lifted off at 2:00 am EDT (0600 GMT) from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, deploying the Monolith satellite into low Earth orbit 52 minutes later. The launch was the first since an Electron failure in mid-May linked to a previously undetected issue with the igniter system for the rocket's second stage engine. Monolith, developed by the Air Force Research Lab, will test the ability of a smallsat to use a large deployable sensor. The mission was to launch from Rocket Lab's new launch site at Wallops Island, Virginia, but continued delays by NASA to certify an autonomous flight termination system for the rocket forced the company to shift the launch to New Zealand.
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