Capitalism in space: In its next launch in mid-November, Rocket Lab will attempt another recovery of the first stage of its Electron rocket.
Rocket Lab USA, Inc (“Rocket Lab” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: RKLB) has today revealed it will attempt a controlled ocean splashdown and recovery of the first stage of an Electron rocket during the company’s next launch in November. The mission will be Rocket Lab’s third ocean recovery of an Electron stage; however, it will be the first time a helicopter will be stationed in the recovery zone around 200 nautical miles offshore to track and visually observe a descending stage in preparation for future aerial capture attempts. The helicopter will not attempt a mid-air capture for this mission but will test communications and tracking to refine the concept of operations (CONOPS) for future Electron aerial capture.
The eventual goal is for the helicopter to snatch the stage by its parachutes as it descends, and then bring it back to deposit it gently on land. This next launch will likely provide the company the data it needs to make that maneuver more safely and with a greater chance of success on a future launch.
The November splashdown recovery will follow two previous successful such recoveries. In addition, the company has also done a test whereby one helicopter dropped a dummy first stage, its parachutes opened, and a second helicopter successfully grabbed it. With the addition of the helicopter on this launch it will likely be poised to attempt a full recovery out of the air.
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