Rocket Lab continues recovery tests of the first stage of the Electron rocket

Continuous strategy development rocket labthe company of Electron rockets (and in the future of Neutron). As explained in the past by the CEO himself “I think anyone who isn’t developing a reusable launch vector right now is developing a product with no future because it’s so obvious that this is a fundamental approach to think about from day one.”. And these days, first-stage recovery tests of a electron rocket.

rocket lab rocket

At the end of last year, there was the first real approach to this practice with the use of two helicopters during the descent (restrained by a parachute) from the first stage of a electron which anyway was disembarked and then recovered. In early 2022, however, we aimed further with the first tests where a helicopter actually latched onto an object that simulated part of a rocket.

Rocket Lab and Electron’s first stage recovery tests

Although no specific details were given on what happened, the company showed a video where we clearly see a first stage of a electron rocket fall from the sky (still restrained by a parachute) then be “caught on the fly” from a helicopter. This time, for the rocket (or the system that simulated it), it didn’t actually return from an operational mission, but it was “only” been dropped from a great height.

However, this is the first known test for rocket lab of this strategy which will allow in the future a rapid reuse of the first step of this family of vectors. The decision not to use a mechanism similar to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 due to the lower mass of Electron which therefore does not need to use drone ship as in the case of Elon Musk’s company.

Also in the last period rocket lab finalizes the acquisition of the company SolAero Holdings and an expert in creating solar panels for space missions (eg those used on the James Webb Space Telescope). This will allow you to have a consolidated reality within your company that provides essential components for the construction of satellites.

rocket lab

Always the company of Peter Beck has been included in the list provided by NASA for the space agency’s small satellite launch service providers. Among the other names we also find established companies such as Northrop Grumman, SpaceX and ULA. In addition, there are also companies “younger” with some active launches like Virgin Orbit. Finally, six companies among those selected have never launched but seem promising in this regard (ABL Space Systems, Blue Origin, Phantom Space and Relativity).

So it seems to me that now is the right time to rocket lab which, in 2022, will aim for its first effective recovery of a first floor. The first mission of this year, called Without a mission a beat, set up from February 4 from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand and will be used to launch Earth observation satellites. In this case, no first stage recovery will be attempted.

Gift ideas, why waste time and risk making mistakes?