The days of one more completed rocket may be over … unless you are NASA. After the seemingly perfect propulsive landing for the SpaceX Falcon 9, Rocket Lab is creating another way to reuse rocket boosters. Earlier this month, the company managed to capture a parachuting rocket with a helicopter, and now it has released an even better video showing how it landed.
On May 2, Rocket Lab launched a mission called “Back and Back”. Hobbit. The mission’s objective was to deliver 34 satellites into orbit, and that part was fixed. The second stage takes the payload into space, but it is the first stage booster that attracts all the attention. After detachment, it places two parachutes to descend from 5,000 miles per hour (8.050 km / h) to just 22 miles per hour (35 km / h).
The newly released video shows footage of the rocket and the task of bringing the helicopter out of mid-air. The new footage comes up in about 30 seconds, when the second step goes away from the booster (which is an amazing shot). Next, the electron booster falls into the atmosphere where it places its parachute.
– Rocket Lab (RocketLab) May 11, 2022
At an altitude of about 6,500 feet (1,980 m), the modified Sikorsky S-92 helicopter caught up with the booster. You can see from the view of both the helicopter and the rocket that the line is attached to the line. Unfortunately, this practice had high points. Rocket Lab confirmed the launch day that the pilots decided to drop the booster after discovering “different load properties” than seen on the test. This is the biggest potential problem with Rocket Lab’s proposed recovery project. The parachutes prevented the booster from detaching spontaneously after reaching the bottom of the water, and the rocket lab was able to pull it out for further analysis and testing. It can fly again, but the goal is to keep the rockets from bathing in salt water.
This is the first time someone has fired a rocket with a helicopter, but it will not end. Rocket Lab plans to continue testing the system. However, it is still unclear whether this is an effective way to reuse the rocket. To hook a helicopter to a 10-meter metal tube, it takes a fancy flight to propel a helicopter that is subject to wind currents. It also puts people at a disadvantage, which is why pilots choose to drop booster. In contrast, SpaceX’s landing system is autonomous – even the ship on which the boosters land is unmanned.