rocket lab She managed to successfully catch a missile in the air with a helicopter after the launch of a satellite in New Zealand.
The company launched 34 satellites into orbit through its rocket Electron Two phases on Monday. After launch, the spacecraft’s first stage returned to the planet by parachute.
This is where the amazing thing happened: a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter approached and attached a parachute rope to a hook.
Of course, after the capture, the pilot noticed different loads than expected and decided to launch the first stage, which sank in the ocean and will later be recovered for inspection.
In search of reuse
This dramatic work is part of an effort rocket lab To make the first stages of Electron It can be reused, an achievement that would reduce costs and increase the pace of release, company representatives said.
Unlike Falcon missiles spacex, that they can start their engines when they return to the ground in an upright position, Electron 60 feet is too small to do this: the first stage boosters can’t carry enough fuel to launch them on return.
rocket lab Experience accumulated steadily until the historical capture. The company recovered in the early stages of Electron After splashing water in the ocean on three recent missions, they discover a helicopter fuel drop during a series of drop tests.
The company is developing a larger rocket called neutron, Which is scheduled to fly for the first time in 2024. neutron It was designed to be partially reusable from the start; Its first stage will make booster landings similar to those of the Falcon 9.
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