Helicopter catches falling rocket stage, The American space company Rocket Lab has carried out a test in which a helicopter had to catch a rocket stage during the descent to Earth. For a while that seemed to work, but eventually the object fell into the sea near New Zealand, reports The Verge, among others.
The helicopter was equipped with a special hook. It successfully clicked on the parachute of the falling rocket stage, one of the components of a rocket. The helicopter then had to bring the object ashore. Due to “unforeseen” circumstances, this did not work, so the helicopter still had to let go of the rocket stage. It then fell into the ocean.
Rocket Lab has taken the rocket stage out of the sea. According to the space company, the part is still in good condition, because the pilot of the helicopter has dropped it into the ocean in a controlled manner.
The test was carried out to see if the rocket stage can be reused in this way, as this is cost-effective. The preparations took three years.
The rest of the test went according to plan, says the space company. The launch of the rocket happened in New Zealand and 34 satellites were successfully put into orbit around the earth.
Helicopter catches falling rocket stage, but then drops it into the sea
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