Rocket Lab recently launched seven satellites to orbit and discovered a thing or two about bringing boosters back all the way down to Earth for reuse.
A 2 stage Electron rocket lifted off from the company’s New Zealand launch site today (December 6) at 3:18 a.m. EST, carrying an artificial-meteor spacecraft and six microsatellites high into the antipodean skies. If all the things go in accordance with the plan, all seven craft will probably be deployed about an hour after liftoff.
However, there was motion within the downward course as properly on this mission, which was the 10th-ever launch for California-based Rocket Lab. The 1st stage of this Electron was upgraded, “equipped with new guidance and navigation hardware (includes onboard flight computer systems and S-band telemetry) and a reaction control system to orient the booster throughout its atmospheric reentry
That is right: Like SpaceX and Blue Origin, Rocket Lab plans to begin reusing boosters. However, the 57-foot-tall (17 meters) Electron is simply too small to make vertical feasibly, propulsive landings like Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck, SpaceX’s Falcon 9, or Blue Origin’s New Shepard, has stated. So, the company intends to pluck falling Electron’s first stages out of the sky with a helicopter.
The primary objective of restoration and reuse is to boost launch frequency, which is a part of Rocket Lab’s core mission of increasing access to space. The company ultimately aims to launch at least once per week with Electron, which might loft about 500 lbs. of payload on each roughly $5 million mission.