Rocket Lab’s Electron booster splashes down in the Pacific Ocean

Rocket Lab’s reusability program advanced one more step on Wednesday night when the company recovered the booster from its Electron launcher for the third time.

The successful mission comes after a period of delays due to weather, but all went according to plan, with the “Love at First Insight” mission taking off at 8:39 PM EST from the company’s launch facility on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. Separation occurred at around 8:41 PM EST and the first stage splashing down at around 9:24 PM EST, according to a tweet from Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck.

Rocket Lab has successfully recovered the first-stage booster twice in its history – the only other company besides SpaceX to achieve reusability. The first successful recovery took place November 2020 and then again in May 2021, though that latter mission resulted in the destruction of the payload.

Like those flights, this booster made a splashdown via parachute. But the recovery included an additional element: the presence of a helicopter, which hovered near the splashdown area to track and observe the booster as it made its descent. While the helicopter didn’t actually do anything related to the recovery, its presence is significant, as it indicates that Rocket Lab is also a step closer to executing its ultimate reusability plan: using a parachute to slow the velocity of the booster and capturing it mid-air with a helicopter.

The Electron sent two BlackSky Earth geospatial imaging satellites to low Earth orbit, part of a rapid five-launch agreement on behalf of BlackSky between Rocket Lab and launch services provider Spaceflight Inc. These satellites were originally scheduled to go to LEO in August, part of a three-launch schedule that ended up being delayed due to a small resurgence of the coronavirus in New Zealand and subsequent lockdown measures.

The two BlackSky satellites will join seven others already in orbit, as the geospatial intelligence company’s aims to grow its constellation to 14 satellites by the end of this year. Earlier this year, two BlackSky satellites were lost due to a significant anomaly that occurred shortly after the Electron’s second-stage ignited.

This mission marks Rocket Lab’s twenty-second Electron launch and the fifth mission this year.

Rewatch the launch here:

Credit belongs to :

You May Also Like

Rocketplace raises $9M in seed funding to build the ‘Fidelity for crypto’

Rocketplace, a startup that aims to build a “next-generation asset management platform for crypto,” has raised $9 million in a seed funding round. A few things about this raise stood out. For one, the funding comes at an interesting time in the crypto world — during the so-called “crypto winter” and a period that has […]

YouTube Shorts will start adding watermarks to discourage cross-platform sharing

YouTube Shorts, the platform’s TikTok competitor, is rolling out a watermarking feature. That means that when creators make a short on YouTube, they won’t be able to download their video and cross-post it to other apps without a YouTube watermark. A YouTube community manager posted about the update yesterday on a support thread that chronicles […]
error: Content is protected !!