Rocket Lab will attempt the next in-flight helicopter rocket capture

Written by admin

Rocket Lab Press Release | November 2, 2022

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 49 seconds.

Rocket Lab USA, Inc., a leading launch and space systems company, has confirmed that it will attempt to catch an Electron rocket with a helicopter on its return to Earth from space during the upcoming launch of the society.

Rocket Lab’s 32nd Electron launch, the “Catch Me If You Can” mission, is scheduled to launch from Pad B at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 during a launch window opening on November 04, UTC. Electron will carry a scientific research satellite from space systems provider OHB Sweden for the Swedish National Space Agency (SNSA). The Mesospheric Airglow/Aerosol Tomography and Spectroscopy (MATS) satellite is the basis for SNSA’s science mission to study atmospheric waves and better understand how the upper layer of the Earth’s atmosphere interacts with winds and weather patterns closer to the floor. MATS was originally scheduled to fly on a Russian launch service before the mission manifested on Rocket Lab’s Electron.

“Catch Me If You Can” will see Rocket Lab attempt to capture the rocket’s first stage in flight with a helicopter as it returns from space. Using a modified Sikorsky S-92 helicopter to grab and secure the rocket by its parachute line, Rocket Lab will fly the captured scene back to its Auckland production complex to be processed and evaluated by engineers and technicians. for possible reuse.

This Electron recovery effort follows the capture of an Electron first stage during Rocket Lab’s first helicopter recovery attempt during the “There And Back Again” launch in May, and the recovery attempt for this mission will follow the same concept of operations as the previous launch.

Rocket Lab CEO and Founder Peter Beck said, “Our first helicopter take just a few months ago proved we could do what we set out to do with Electron, and we can’t wait to get back to the helicopter there and get our rocket going. even more reusability by bringing back a dry stage for the first time.

“Catch Me If You Can” launch details:

  • Launch window opens: November 04, UTC
  • Launcher: Electron
  • Client: Swedish National Space Agency via OHB Sweden
  • Launch Site: Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, Pad B
  • Orbit: 585 km circular Earth orbit
  • Payload: MATS

Recovery Mission Profile:

  • Shortly before takeoff, the customized Sikorsky S-92 recovery helicopter will roll out to the capture area at sea, approximately 160 nautical miles off New Zealand’s Banks Peninsula.
  • Once launched, Electron’s first and second stages will separate approximately T+2:32 minutes into the mission. The MATS payload will continue to orbit aboard the rocket’s second stage while the Electron first stage descends back to Earth. At this point in the mission, the returning Electron is expected to reach speeds of up to 8,300 km (5,150 miles) per hour and temperatures of up to 2,400 degrees C (4,352 F).
  • At approximately T+7:20 minutes after liftoff, Electron’s first parachute will deploy, followed shortly thereafter by the rocket’s main parachute. The double deployment of the parachutes makes it possible to slow the first return stage to 0.4% of its top speed during the descent: from 8,300 km/h to just 36 km/h.
  • As Electron enters the capture zone, Rocket Lab’s recovery helicopter will match the speed and descent of the rocket from above, attempt to secure the rear parachute line of engagement to the helicopter via a hook at the end of a long line.
  • Once captured and secured, Electron will be brought back to Rocket Lab’s Auckland production complex. There, technicians will receive and prepare the scene for inspection to assess its suitability for reuse.

This press release was prepared and distributed by Rocket Lab USA, Inc.

#Rocket #Lab #attempt #inflight #helicopter #rocket #capture

About the author


Leave a Comment