Rocket Lab is following in SpaceX’s footsteps to recycle the rocket,media reported. The start-up, which has facilities in both the U.S. and New Zealand, will try to recycle the Eletron rocket’s first-stage booster for the first time in a mission on Thursday, November 19. The company’s current goal is to open a nearly three-hour release window at 5:44 p.m. Pacific time.
It is understood that the first-stage booster separated after pushing some small satellites into mission orbit and used parachutes for a controlled soft water landing in the Pacific Ocean. There, floating rockets will be recovered by salvage ships.
Recycling rockets with parachutes is not a new concept. That’s what NASA sings about in the not-too-distant past. While it’s not as compelling as SpaceX’s propulsion landing system, it’s just a springboard for bigger plans.
“The goal we are trying to achieve through Electron is an extremely difficult and complex challenge, but we are willing to continue our efforts to further improve the pace of launches and provide more frequent launch opportunities for small satellite operators,” Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, said in a statement. “
In April, Rocket Lab demonstrated a helicopter’s aerial capture of simulated rocket stages.
Grabbing the booster from the air prevents the possibility of water landing and damage by floating in salt water for a period of time.
The launch window for the company’s Return to Sender mission is understood to have started on November 15, but has been delayed several times because of the weather.