Big setback! Rocket Lab Helicopter Unable to Catch Returning Booster in Midair

A Rocket Lab USA Inc. helicopter was unable to catch a booster in midair as it returned from space over the Pacific Ocean.

| Updated on: Nov 05 2022, 12:38 IST
NASA In Pics: Stunning images of Soyuz launch captured by International Space Station
1/5 NASA astronauts aboard the International Space Station witnessed the launch of the Soyuz MS-22 spacecraft which took off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on September 21, carrying one NASA astronaut and two Russian cosmonauts. (Bob Hines/Twitter)
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2/5 NASA astronaut Frank Rubio and two cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin arrived at the International Space Station on September 21, making a total of 10 residents aboard the ISS at least until the end of the week. Many of them will depart the ISS in the coming week as their 6-month tenure aboard the orbiting lab comes to an end. (AP)
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3/5 European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti posted mesmerizing images of the launch on her Twitter. She wrote, “We had a spectacular view of the #Soyuz launch! Sergey, Dmitry and Frank will come knocking on our door in just a couple of hours … looking forward to welcoming them to their new home!” (Samantha Cristoforetti/Twitter)
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4/5 NASA astronaut Bob Hines also shared images of the launch on his Twitter page. He wrote, “Ever wonder what a [rocket] launch looks like from space? It’s amazing!!” The NASA and ESA astronauts seem excited to welcome their new co-workers aboard the spacecraft, despite the ongoing tensions with Russia. (Bob Hines/Twitter)
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5/5 According to NASA, all three newly arrived astronauts are part of the Expedition 68 crew which will take the research aboard the spacecraft for a period of 6 months. NASA said,” Throughout their six-month stay aboard the orbital outpost, the trio will work on science and research in technology development, Earth science, biology, human research, and more.” (Bob Hines/Twitter)
Rocket Lab
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Rocket Lab helicopter unable to catch returning booster in midair. (Rocket Lab)

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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First Published Date: 05 Nov, 12:38 IST