Rocket Lab has postponed the launch of the electronic booster it hopes to pluck from the sky by helicopter after takeoff to no later than Monday (May 2) due to weather.
Unfavorable weather conditions are the main reason for the launch delay, rocket lab But the company is taking the time to make final checks on its recovery system, officials said in an update Electron missile Reuse test.
“After a busy week of pickup testing, and while we wait for the weather to improve, we are taking an extra day to improve the recovery system and the final helicopter before First capture attempt in the air,” Rocket Lab representatives wrote in Twitter update. Liftoff is now targeting Monday during a roughly two-hour window that opens at 6:35 PM ET (2235 GMT).
Rocket Lab’s upcoming launch, called “There And Back Again,” will be the company’s first attempt to get the first stage of an electron booster in flight as part of a plan to reuse the rockets and cut launch costs.
The plan calls for the first stage of the electron booster to be launched as normal, then return to Earth while optimizing its descent through “a series of complex maneuvers designed to enable it to withstand the intense heat and forces of return to the atmosphere,” the company said in a mission description. Heat shield will protect the rocket’s nine Rutherford engines while a parachute slows their fall so it can be captured by a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter.
Rocket Lab has retrieved electron boosters from the ocean before and practiced midair hunting for dummy rockets, but has yet to attempt to catch an electron returning from space after an actual launch.
Unlike previous recovery missions, There And Back Again attempts to avoid falling water in the ocean as the helicopter will return to the platform again to land after being caught. wrote in the description. “Following the success of this recovery, Electron will be one step closer to being the first reusable small orbital satellite launcher.”
Despite its ambitious nature, the electron recovery test is not the primary goal of the There And Back Again mission.
Rocket Lab will launch 34 satellites into orbit on the flight for a variety of customers, including three demonstration satellites for the start-up E-Space, and two groups of picosatellite satellites for the “Internet of Things” on board a flight organized by Spaceflight, Inc. , and AuroraSat-1, an experimental test satellite space junk Removal techniques created by Finland-based Aurora Propulsion Technologies.