The rocket exploded from New Zealand and strengthened a number of small satellites – including– to an orbit for the mission, aptly named Return to Sender. The first stage was then separated to make a controlled landing of soft water in the Pacific Ocean using parachutes.
The mission’s live broadcast was lost when the rocket landed back to Earth at high speed, but Rocket Lab confirmed on social media that the parachutes had deployed successfully and that the rocket had exploded in the Pacific Ocean.
“The first stage of Electron has been confirmed! Recovery operations are underway and we will bring you more soon,” the company wrote on Twitter.
The floating rocket will be pulled from a recovery ship, and Rocket Lab promised us more pictures soon.
Recovering a rocket with the help of parachutes is hardly a new concept. This is something that NASA has pursued in the not-so-distant past. And it may not be as dramatic as the propulsion system that SpaceX uses, but it’s just a step toward larger plans that includeduring its descent by helicopter.
“What we are trying to achieve with Electron is an extremely difficult and complex challenge, but one that we are ready to pursue in order to further increase the pace of launch and provide even more frequent launch opportunities for small satellite operators. “Peter Beck, founder of Rocket Lab and CEO, said in a statement.
In April, the Rocket Lab demonstrated the capture in the air of a mock-up of a helicopter rocket.
Removing the amplifier from the air prevents the possibility of damage from water landing and sailing in salt water for a certain period.
“Returning the entire first phase intact is the ultimate goal, but the success of this mission is actually to get more data, especially on the drug and parachute deployment system,” Beck explained. “Regardless of the state in which the scene returns, we will learn a lot from this test and use it to repeat for the next experiment.”
You can watch the full replay below – and each unique look contributes to charity in the first 24 hours.