Rocket Lab recently revealed that it used two helicopters to launch and capture the physical model of one of its rockets over the waters off the North Island last month, and it posted the test video on YouTube,media reported. Rocket Lab spokeswoman Morgan Bailey said the “test” — lighter than the main stage of its Electron rocket but very similar — fell from one helicopter and was then captured in mid-air by another.
The company hopes that they will eventually be able to use the same technology to capture and reuse the main rocket booster after the main rocket’s main booster is used to deploy satellites in space, reducing manufacturing costs and helping to launch more frequently. In response, Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said helicopter testing was an “important step” towards that goal.
Beck noted, however, that it was not yet possible to restore the company’s launch site at M?hia Peninsula, which will continue until the end of the current four-stage blockade. Most of the company’s employees now work from home, she says, but the company has been able to continue some manufacturing in the U.S. because the launch vehicle is listed as a basic service in the United States.
Rocket Lab will not plan to launch its first rocket launch at a new secondary launch site in the United States until late this year.
Bailey, a US-based company with most of its employees in New Zealand, plans to apply to the New Zealand government for a wage subsidy. In New Zealand, companies with monthly earnings fell by 30 per cent between January and June this year could apply for wage subsidies.
Bailey argues that Rocket Lab’s competitive position in the small rocket launch market is unlikely to be eroded at this extraordinary time. She says many companies competing with Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket son also face the effects of the “home shelter” order.