Rocket Lab’s next trip will feature some aerial work we’ve never seen before.
The company is working in California to build its two floors ʻElectron rocket can be reused. The plan is to capture Electron’s first fall from the sky with a helicopter shortly after launch – a daunting task that Rocket Lab will attempt for the first time on its next mission. scheduled to be launched before April 19.
“We are excited to be involved in this next phase of the Electron recovery program,” he said. Rocket industry founder and CEO Peter Beck spoken in a language (opens on new page) today (April 5).
“We’ve made a lot of wins capture the helicopter with standard levelsperformed extensive parachute tests and successfully returned the first level of Electron from the ocean to our 16, 20 and 22 missions, “he added.” Now is the time to come together for the first time and pull the Electron out of the sky. “
Select: Rocket Lab and its Electron amplifier (photos)
The next mission, called “There and Back Again,” will be released from Rocket Lab’s New Zealand website, North of the Mahia Peninsula. It is the 26th total flying orbital for the 59-foot-high (18 meters) Electron and for Rocket Lab.
Electron’s major performance in “There and Back Again” is giving 34 satellites into orbit for a variety of customers, but the return of the generator to Earth could make a lot of noise. and observation.
About an hour before departure, Rocket Lab will move a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter stationed to a capture position about 150 nautical miles (280 kilometers) off the coast of New Zealand. If all goes according to plan, the two electron levels will separate about 2.5 minutes after initiation; the second level will maintain the power of the satellites in orbit, while the first level will return down to Earth.
The pilot will place a drug parachute about 8 miles (13 km) over the Pacific Ocean, then open his massive chute at an altitude of 3.7 miles (6 km) or so, he said. and Rocket Lab delegates in the language.
The chutes slow the descent speed to 22 mph (36 kph). He was quick for the chopper, running in and trying to catch the parachute line with fear. Sikorsky will pull back the land developer for review, with an evaluation of its suitability for reuse.
There is no guarantee that Rocket Lab will perform this function in its first attempt, of course.
“Trying to catch a rocket when it falls to Earth is not an easy task. We are holding on to the needle here, but pushing the boundaries with hard work in mind. our DNA, ”Beck said. “We hope to learn a lot from the mission when we make the ultimate goal of making Electron a new orbital smallsat launcher and providing our customer with more access to the service. start up.”
Rocket Lab’s Electron design is very different from the one used by SpaceX with his Falcon 9 rockets, constantly making ground moves and standing directly on land or ships at sea. The difference comes in many forms: The Falcon 9 Is larger than the Electron and therefore can take the fuel to accomplish the mission and get the amount needed to land the fire.
Rocket Lab is developing a large advertiser called Neutron, designed to be reusable from scratch. The first Neutron levels will go the Falcon 9 path, creating strong navigation levels, Beck said. Neutron is expected to fly for the first time in 2024.
Mike Wall is the author of “Outside (opens on new page)“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; edited by Karl Tate), a book about exploring alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens on new page). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens on new page) or at Facebook (opens on new page).