For many people, catching a volleyball is already an impossible task. But the company Rocket Lab will soon take a rocket booster out of the sky with a helicopter.
Excess space debris is a pain point in space travel. That is why companies are now also developing reusable rocket parts. But you’re not there yet with recyclable rockets. Someone has to catch the ultra-fast devices too. The American company Rocket Lab is making an attempt. Soon, a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter rips the Electron rocket booster out of the sky.
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Rocket Lab has already conducted a successful test in 2020. A helicopter lifted a replica of the Electron above the open ocean in New Zealand. Another helicopter grabbed the dummy. You can see how it worked in this spectacular US promotional video:
Fall on good ground
Later this month, the Electron rocket will take off from New Zealand to launch 34 small satellites into orbit. For the launch, a Sikorsky S-92 flies 277 kilometers from the coast to the so-called catch area† There, the helicopter awaits the return of the thruster which crashes to the ground at a speed of 8,300 km/h.
Once Electron has reached an altitude of 13 kilometers, the booster opens a small tow parachute. At a height of about six kilometers, it deploys the main parachute. This will slow the cosmic speed to 36 kilometers per hour. This gives the helicopter enough time to insert its grappling hook into the parachute line.
It is not yet known when the show will begin. Depending on the weather conditions, the rocket can be launched in any case from April 19.
Image: Rocket Lab
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