Rocket Lab of Huntington Beach has presented plans to recover and re-fly the first stage of its Electron launch rocket, eventually capturing the vehicle by helicopter in mid-air.
The small-satellite company intends to increase launch frequency by recovering and re-launching Electron’s first stage, it said in a statement today. The plan will eliminate the need to build a new first stage for every mission, and will progress in two phases.
The first phase will see Rocket Lab attempt to recover a full Electron first stage from the ocean downrange of Launch Complex 1 and have it shipped back to Rocket Lab’s Production Complex for refurbishment, the aerospace manufacturer said.
“The second phase will see Electron’s first stage captured mid-air by helicopter, before the stage is transported back to Launch Complex 1 for refurbishment and relaunch,” according to the statement.
Rocket Lab plans to begin first stage recovery attempts in the coming year, according to the statement.