After capturing the rocket stage, the helicopter crew had to leave it for safety reasons.
It was later collected by a waiting boat.
The California-based space company launched an Electron rocket late in the morning from New Zealand’s Mahia peninsula, sending 34 satellites into orbit before the main booster segment began descending to Earth.
His descent was slowed to about 10 meters per second by a parachute.
The helicopter then used a long string and hook to grab the lines of the reinforcement parachute around it 6500 ft.
However, the load on the helicopter was greater than in tests and simulations.
The event – called “There And Back Again,” a reference to JRR Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel “The Hobbit” – was broadcast live.
Peter Beck, founder of Rocket Lab, declared the mission a success.
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“Amazing catch by the recovery team, can’t begin to explain how hard this hunt was and the pilots got it,” he said. chirp. “They released it after it was delivered because they weren’t happy with the way it was flying, but it doesn’t matter, the missile fell safely and the ship is loading it now.”
Beck noted that almost everything went according to plan and that the unexpected loading issue was “nothing in the scheme of things”.
“They had a great catch. They didn’t like the feeling of being pregnant,” he said on a post-launch conference call.
Beck added that further analysis should reveal the reasons for the discrepancy in pregnancy characteristics.
The CEO is pushing to make his electronic rockets reusable, in order to reduce costs and increase the number of launches made by Rocket Lab.
Beck said he remains hopeful the company can salvage some or all of the spent booster rockets.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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