Rocket lab is trying to capture their spent first stage with a helicopter for the second time. The first capture attempt was a partial success. They managed to catch the rocket with a helicopter. Unfortunately, the downwash from the rotor blades interacted with the rocket in a way that caused problematic oscillations. The capture team was forced to drop the rocket shortly after.
While Rocket Lab is working to reuse their small sat launcher, they are also working on a new model that is comparable to Falcon 9 but might offer even better reusability.
Scott Manley: Rocket Lab's Neutron Rocket Will Be More Reusable Than Falcon 9
The launch takes place at Mahia Peninsula, Launch Complex 1B, in New Zealand.
Payload is a 50 kg satellite by OHB for the Swedish National Space Agency, heading to a Sun-sychronous orbit (585 km). The satellite will observe waves in the upper atmosphere (75 – 110 km) of Earth for five years (MATS - the Swedish research satellite).
Rocket Lab's mission website: Catch Me If You Can.
Why it's interesting:
- 32nd launch of the Electron rocket by Rocket Lab
- 2nd capture attempt of the first stage
- 3D printed engines
- Battery powered fuel pumps
- Carbon composite stages
- Potentially reusable first stage
Where to watch:
- 15 minutes before launch: Rocket Lab
- 30 mintues before launch: Tim Dodd
Check your local launch time at: www.timeanddate.com
Tim Dodd: How Rocket Lab will catch a rocket with a helicopter!
Scott Manley: RocketLab & Reusable Rockets - Plasma Knives, Ballutes, Helicopters and... Elephants
Tim Dodd: Who will be the KING of the Small Sat Launchers?!
Tim Dodd: Talking about Rocket Lab’s Neutron with Peter Beck - 19.12.21
Scott Manley: Rocket Lab's Neutron Rocket's Innovative Design Explained By Peter Beck - CEO of Rocket Lab - 21.12.21
Tim Dodd: A chat with Rocket Lab's CEO Peter Beck about Neutron, Electron recovery and Rocket Lab's future! - 15.04.21
Tim Dodd: A conversation with Rocket Lab's Peter Beck on recovering Electron - 19.12.19
Tim Dodd: A conversation with Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck - 02.11.18
Rocket Lab: Neutron Rocket | Development Update - 02.12.21
Rocket Lab: Rocket Lab | Global Facilities Tour - 04.08.21
Useful links to stay up to date on launches:
Spaceflightnow.com: Launch Schedule
Everyday Astronaut: Prelaunch Previews
NASA Spaceflight nasaspacefight.com
Vote for my witness: @blue-witness
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