Rocket Lab can forgo using helicopters to capture the rockets

The helicopter managed to capture the rocket booster, but ended up dropping it.

The helicopter managed to capture the rocket booster, but ended up dropping it.
Screenshot: RocketLab

In a disappointing turn, Rocket Lab is rethinking its the daredevil method to try to capture and recover the electron boosters in the air using a helicopter.

During an earnings call on Tuesday, Rocket Labs CEO and founder Peter Beck revealed that the company is now thinking about recovering its Electron Booster straight from the ocean rather than trying to capture it before it hits the water, SpaceNews reported.

Rocket Lab has tested a daring way to restore the rocket’s first stage. When the electron rocket falls back to Earth using a parachute to reduce its speed, a customized helicopter will be ready to catch it in mid-air by hooking onto the parachute line.

The California-based company attempted its mid-air booster capture twice last year. In May was The helicopter was able to capture the booster when it was about 6,500 feet above the Pacific Ocean. The helicopter was then supposed to transport the booster safely to land, but ended up dropping it into the sea after the pilots noticed different cargo characteristics than previous test flights. For the second attempt in November the company chose to cancel the helicopter catch entirely due to a momentary loss of telemetry from the booster.

Both times the electron amplifier was recovered from the sea. Although the whole point of the recovery in the air was to prevent the booster from being submerged in the water (to increase the potential for reuse)the rocket did just fine after the swim.

“This turned out to be quite a happy event,” Beck is quoted in SpaceNews as saying. “The Electron survived a sea recovery in remarkably good condition, and in many cases the components actually pass re-qualification for flight.”

Hmm, I wonder about Rocket Lab’s customers it will be cool with the idea of ​​having their satellites elevated to orbit with boosters earlier immersed in water. AnyhOE OE, I guess that means no need for cool stunts involving a helicopter. Rocket Lab will add more waterproofing to its electron rocket and attempt to restore the ocean for an upcoming flight. “Pending this outcome of testing and analysis of the scene, the mission can move us toward sticking to marine recovery entirely and introduce significant savings to the entire operation,” Beck said on the call.

More: Rocket Lab launches its first electron rocket from American soil

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *