Rocket Lab performs “capture” of a reused scene from a helicopter

La mission There And Back Again avait pour objectif d

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Rocket Lab continues the show like SpaceX. The US Long-Beach, California-based nanosatellite launch company, which has its launch pad on the Machia Peninsula in New Zealand, has returned to Earth for the fourth time with the first stage of its electron launch. The “There And Back Again” mission also aimed to capture the first stage with a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter. Great first. The scene was eventually “captured” at about 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) from the hook of a helicopter when it crashed, which was slowed down by a large parachute. Unfortunately, the pilots were forced to release the first stage for flight safety reasons, which eventually sank in the waters of the Pacific Ocean. He was picked up by the lifeboat, the Seaworker.

“After the arrest, the helicopter pilot spotted different loading characteristics than he had previously encountered during the test and left the stage for a successful crash,” Rocket Lab said in a statement on Tuesday.

[NB: utiliser le vrai compte de Peter Beck : @Peter_J_Beck]

Beyond that half-hearted achievement, Peter Beck, the New Zealand founder of Rocket Lab, which he founded in 2006, is increasingly counting on the small launcher landscape. The electron is capable of putting a charge of 200 to 300 kg on a low orbit. However, Rocket Lab must have a bad balance in its accounts. If turnover rose to $ 62.2 million in 2021 (+ 77%), losses also rose to $ 117.8 million last year (up from $ 55 million).

Increase the fire rate

With this new successful launch of 34 satellites Monday night through Tuesday, the Electron launcher was launched into orbit 146 satellites in 26 flights (three failures, including the maiden flight on May 25, 2017). As of 2019, the US company had a rate of six to seven launches per year: six in 2019, seven in 2020 (1 failure) and six in 2021 (1 failure). According to the Rocket Lab, “in-flight capture” is an important step in turning the Electron into a reusable launch vehicle to increase launch rates and reduce launch costs for small satellites. Rocket Lab’s next mission is scheduled for May.

“Bringing a launcher back from space and catching it with a helicopter is a kind of ultrasonic ballet,” said Peter Beck, according to a Rocket Lab press release.

This goal of increasing the launch rate is essential for startups such as Unseenlabs, whose CEO and co-founder Clément Galic notes the apparent shortage of launchers currently available on the market. In addition, this situation may in the short term reverse its goal of launching three more satellites by the end of the year. In anticipation of the arrival of European launchers, which are delayed in launching, satellite manufacturers must also address the shortage of launchers. by Arianespace. The war in Ukraine is in danger of causing a “lack of launchers” The time required for satellite constellations was warned by Peter Beck in late March. It really is so …