A Rocket Lab USA Inc. helicopter was unable to catch a booster in midair as it returned from space over the Pacific Ocean.
The problem was related to a “telemetry loss” from the Electron rocket’s first stage during re-entry, the company said Friday in a tweet. The booster splashed down in the Pacific Ocean and a recovery vessel will collect it, Rocket Lab said.
“Unfortunately it looks like we are not going to bring Electron home dry today,” Murielle Baker, a spokesperson for Rocket Lab said during a live web stream of the attempt. Launched at 1:27 p.m. Eastern from Rocket Lab’s site in New Zealand, the mission successfully deployed a science research satellite for the Swedish National Space Agency.
Rocket Lab has been trying to catch descending booster rockets before they splash down in the ocean in a bid to make rockets reusable, potentially cutting down on costs and time between launches. In a previous mission, Rocket Lab caught one of the boosters of its Electron rocket with a helicopter after a return from space, but the pilot chose to drop the rocket in the ocean immediately following the catch for technical reasons.
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