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Rocket Lab successfully launches but fails to catch first stage

Rocket Lab today used its Electron rocket to successfully launch a Swedish atmospheric research satellite.

The attempt to catch the first stage with a helicopter as the stage came back to Earth on parachutes failed. Based on the live stream, the failure appears unrelated to the helicopter, which never even made an attempt to capture. Nor did the video from the copter ever show the stage in view. A later update explained that the helicopter had lost telemetry from the stage, and for safety reasons would not attempt a capture without that information.

The company will still recover the stage from the ocean and test its engines. An engine from a previous ocean recovery actually passed all subsequent engine tests, suggesting it could even be reused on a launch.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

51 SpaceX
47 China
19 Russia
9 Rocket Lab
7 ULA

American private enterprise now leads China 72 to 47 in the national rankings, though it still trails the rest of the world combined 75 to 72.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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6 comments

  • Andi

    Minor edit in first sentence: “to successfully launch”

    Too bad about the failure to catch. Hope they can get some useful data from the recovered stage.

  • David Ross

    If a rocket can be reused after a splashdown then they never needed the helicopter. Doesn’t the Electron use carbon-fiber for a chassis? That won’t corrode. All they need is something to seal the engine from prolonged exposure to seawater and it looks like they’re mostly there already.

  • Andi: Thank you again for your help. Fixed.

  • Concerned

    SpaceX discovered the same thing with their fairings. Musk tweeted something like, “nothing wrong with a little swim”.

  • sippin_bourbon

    I wonder how.much return had to be done on the engine.
    What, if any, damage to the tanks or the rocket body was inflicted on impact with the water.

    Either way, a successful launch.
    Rocket lab has nine straight months of launches, with a tenth scheduled.

  • pzatchok

    I never did like the idea of inflight catches.

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