Capitalism in space: Rocket Lab announced today that it will attempt to recover the 1st stage of its Electron rocket on its next launch, using parachutes to slow its descent into the ocean and then fishing from the sea.
On its next mission set for liftoff later this month, Rocket Lab will try to recover the first stage of its Electron small satellite launcher after parachuting into the Pacific Ocean downrange from the company’s privately-run spaceport in New Zealand, officials announced Thursday.
The attempt to retrieve the Electron rocket’s first stage moves Rocket Lab closer to eventually capturing falling boosters in mid-air with a helicopter, then reusing the hardware. The reuse initiative is aimed at increasing Rocket Lab’s flight rate, and could result in cost savings, according to Peter Beck, the company’s founder and CEO.
The flight is presently scheduled for November 15 from New Zealand. It appears the goal with this recovery is not to reuse the 1st stage, but to recover it so they can determine how it fared during re-entry. For re-use they will capture the first stage using a helicopter, before splashdown and is exposed to saltwater.
When they attempt the helicopter capture on an actual launch remains unclear.
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