November 01, 2022 04:30 PM Eastern Daylight TimeLONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today confirmed that it will attempt to catch an Electron rocket with a helicopter as it returns to Earth from space during the Company’s next launch.Rocket Lab’s 32nd Electron launch, the “Catch Me If You Can” mission, is scheduled to launch from Pad B at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 during a launch window opening on November 04, UTC. Electron will carry a science research satellite by space systems provider OHB Sweden for the Swedish National Space Agency (SNSA). The Mesospheric Airglow/Aerosol Tomography and Spectroscopy (MATS) satellite is the basis for the SNSA’s science mission to investigate atmospheric waves and better understand how the upper layer of Earth’s atmosphere interacts with wind and weather patterns closer to the ground. MATS was originally due to fly on a Russian launch service before the mission was manifested on Rocket Lab’s Electron.“Catch Me If You Can” will see Rocket Lab attempt to capture the rocket’s first stage mid-air with a helicopter as it returns from space. Using a modified Sikorsky S-92 helicopter to catch and secure the rocket by its parachute line, Rocket Lab will bring the captured stage back to its Auckland Production Complex to be processed and assessed by engineers and technicians for possible re-use.This Electron recovery effort follows the catch of an Electron first stage during Rocket Lab’s first helicopter recovery attempt on the “There And Back Again” launch in May, and the recovery attempt for this mission will follow the same concept of operations as the previous launch.Rocket Lab CEO and founder, Peter Beck, says: “Our first helicopter catch only a few months ago proved we can do what we set out to do with Electron, and we’re eager to get the helicopter back out there and advance our rocket reusability even further by bringing back a dry stage for the first time.”“Catch Me If You Can” launch details:- Launch Window Opens: November 04, UTC- Launch vehicle: Electron- Customer: Swedish National Space Agency through OHB Sweden- Launch site: Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, Pad B- Orbit: 585km circular Earth orbit- Payload: MATSRecovery Mission Profile:- Shortly before lift-off, the customized Sikorsky S-92 recovery helicopter will deploy to the capture zone at sea, approximately 160 nautical miles off New Zealand’s Banks Peninsula.- Once launched, Electron’s first and second stages will separate at approximately T+2:32 minutes into the mission. The MATS payload will continue to orbit onboard the rocket’s second stage while Electron’s first stage descends back to Earth. At this point in the mission, Electron’s return is expected to reach speeds of up to 8,300km (5,150 miles) per hour and temperatures of up to 2,400 degrees C (4,352 F).- At approximately T+7:20 minutes after lift-off, Electron’s first parachute will deploy followed shortly after by the rocket’s main parachute. The double deployment of parachutes helps to slow the returning first stage to 0.4% of its top speed during descent: from 8,300km per hour to just 36km per hour.- As Electron enters the capture zone, Rocket Lab’s recovery helicopter will match the rocket’s speed and descent from above, attempt to secure the trailing parachute engagement line to the helicopter via a hook at the end of a long line.- Once captured and secured, Electron will be transported back to Rocket Lab’s Auckland Production Complex. There, technicians will receive and prepare the stage for inspection to assess its suitability for re-use.
We're bringing back the helicopter.Catch Me If You Can - our next recovery mission to catch Electron in the sky with a helicopter - is set to launch in just three days' time. More info: bit.ly/3zzfDWX
Catch Me If You Can Launch window opens:🚀NZDT (Nov 05) | 06:15🚀UTC (Nov 04) | 17:15🚀ET (Nov 04) | 13:15🚀MT (Nov 04) | 11:15🚀PT (Nov 04) | 10:15🚀CET (Nov 04) | 19:15
312126Z OCT 22HYDROPAC 3070/22(76).WESTERN SOUTH PACIFIC.NEW ZEALAND.DNC 06.1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS, ROCKET LAUNCHING 1515Z TO 1900Z DAILY 04 THRU 17 NOV IN AREA BOUND BY 39-18.00S 178-03.00E, 39-12.00S 178-00.00E, 39-12.00S 177-51.00E, 39-15.00S 177-48.00E, 39-18.00S 177-48.00E, 39-42.00S 177-42.00E, 39-42.00S 178-00.00E. 2. CANCEL THIS MSG 172000Z NOV 22.
312101Z OCT 22HYDROPAC 3069/22(76).WESTERN SOUTH PACIFIC.DNC 06.1. HAZARDOUS OPERATIONS, SPACE DEBRIS 1515Z TO 1900Z DAILY 04 THRU 17 NOV IN AREAS BOUND BY: A. 44-00.00S 177-30.00E, 44-00.00S 176-24.00E, 46-30.00S 175-30.00E, 46-30.00S 177-00.00E. B. 55-00.00S 173-00.00E, 55-00.00S 171-30.00E, 59-30.00S 169-30.00E, 59-30.00S 171-30.00E.2. CANCEL THIS MSG 172000Z NOV 22.
Payload integration complete with OHB Sweden & @RymdstyrelsenSE for MATS! This Swedish national science mission is launching on Electron's recovery mission Nov 04 UTC - more info. bit.ly/3sRTH5p
It’s launch day! Operators are on console, the MATS payload is secured in Electron’s fairing, and the helicopter is preparing to take off soon and head to the recovery zone down range. Target lift-off:🚀 UTC | 17:27🚀 NZDT | 06:27🚀 EDT | 13:27🚀 PDT | 10:27🚀 CET | 18:27
Today’s primary mission is to deploy the MATS satellite for the Swedish Space Agency @RymdstyrelsenSE and OHB Sweden. The next time Electron’s fairing opens, MATS will be in space.
Electron is vertical on the pad at LC-1 for the launch of “Catch Me If You Can,” our 32nd Electron mission. Liquid oxygen is now flowing into Electron's first and second stages ❄️ Lift-off:🚀 UTC | 17:27🚀 NZDT |06:27🚀 EDT | 13:27🚀 PDT | 10:27
Rocket Lab will make a second attempt at recovering Electron's first stage mid-air today! Launch scheduled for just over two hours from now.By Tyler Gray (@TylerG1998): https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2022/11/catch-me-if-you-can/
The helicopter is wheels up and en route to the recovery zone for #CatchMeIfYouCan! The backup recovery vessel is also standing by, ready to support if today's recovery attempt results in an ocean splashdown
Tune into today's recovery mission 📺We'll be bringing you live views (yes from the helicopter too) from around T-25 minutes youtu.be/PVTwEn9GdsALift-off:🚀 UTC | 17:27🚀 NZDT |06:27🚀 EDT | 13:27🚀 PDT | 10:27
17:27:14 UTC @StephenClark1
Let's try to catch a rocket with a helicopter, shall we? It's almost launch time. Tune in.