Rocket Lab intends to recover the first stage of its Electron rocket using a helicopter, Reuters reported on Wednesday. If the mission turns out to be positive, then the company would be the second one after SpaceX to reuse an orbital-class rocket booster.
Electron Rocket has carried payloads seven times so far. It has the capacity to carry 496 pounds into space, costing around $7 million per mission. Other rocket launchers such as Relativity Space, based in LA can carry payloads upto 2,200 pounds costing $10 million while Firefly, a Texas-based launcher can carry out the same for $15 million.
Looking at Rocket Labs, it ranks among the fast growing launch company which is planning to launch shoebox-sized satellites to low Erath orbit at a lower cost. The company is focusing to build smaller rockets and reinvent traditional production lines to fulfill the demands of growing satellite launches.
Electron Rocket’s mechanism is a bit different then SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. In the case of Electron Rocket, it will deploy few parachutes to cut down its speed while landing whereas Falcon 9 rocket reignites its engines to land steadily back on Earth.
There are many launch companies which still doubt about the effectiveness of reusing first-stage boosters propulsively. Companies such as United Launch Alliance argue that the amount of fuel which is required for landing the rocket through the thick atmosphere and back on earth would be useful to propel heavier payloads.