author_name|Amrita Khalid language|en-US provider_name|Engadget region|US Science site|engadget Space & Astronomy

Watch Rocket Lab try to catch a booster with a helicopter in mid-air

Rocket Lab is trying something different during today’s launch of its reusable rocket, Electron. The space company will attempt to capture the first stage of Electron in mid-air as it falls back to Earth. To do this, Rocket Lab uses a Sikorsky S-92 helicopterA twin-engine helicopter that can seat up to 19 people and is often used for military or presidential purposes. While rescue missions for rocket stages are rare — most of them end on the ocean floor – the purpose of the company is a truly reusable rocket this will allow for more frequent launches.

Rocket Lab has recovered boosters three times in the past, the first in November 2020. parachutethen two sea ​​rescue In May and November 2021. However, this will be the first airborne take of a helicopter booster. Space X, the only other space company that has successfully salvaged its boosters, often relies on drone ships.

Electron scheduled to take off on May 2 at 6:35 PM ET About two and a half minutes after launch, the first and second rocket stages will separate from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. Equipped with a parachute and a heat shield to protect it from the harsh forces of the atmosphere, the first stage will then descend to Earth. At this point the helicopter will attach to the parachute and recover the booster.

You can watch the live webcast of the launch (and hopefully the next roundup) on Rocket Lab’s YouTube channel below.

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