Wed. Sep 27th, 2023
Rocket Lab Stock Falls After First Launch Failure in over Two Years

Rocket Lab’s stock fell in premarket trading after the company experienced its first launch failure in over two years on Tuesday morning. The uncrewed 41st Electron rocket launch, carrying the Acadia 2 satellite for Capella Space, failed around 2 minutes and 30 seconds after liftoff from New Zealand. Rocket Lab has started working with the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate the root cause of the issue, which occurred during the separation of the rocket’s first and second stages.

Rocket Lab expressed apologies to its partner, Capella Space, for the mission loss. The stock price of Rocket Lab dropped by as much as 26% in premarket trading. However, prior to this incident, the stock had seen a 34% increase for the year.

Rocket Lab had planned to launch its 42nd Electron mission before the end of the third quarter. However, due to the launch failure, the company has announced a postponement and expects to provide revised third-quarter revenue guidance. In its second-quarter report, Rocket Lab had projected launch services revenue of approximately $30 million, with the majority of its overall forecast revenue of $73 million to $77 million coming from its space systems unit.

This launch failure is significant for Rocket Lab, which had maintained a successful launch record, becoming the second-most active U.S. rocket company after SpaceX. Prior to this incident, the Electron rocket had not experienced a mission failure since May 2021, with 19 successful launches in the past 28 months.

The duration of the investigation and the subsequent grounding of the rocket will depend on the severity and complexity of the issue. Following a previous launch failure, Rocket Lab resumed launches 70 days later.