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ICT Spring - 2022

Reusability: Rocket Lab on track for the next “Catch of the Day”

Electron’s first stage recovery by the “Catch of the Day” vessel. Photo: Rocket Lab

Luxembourg, 1 December 2020. – Ready for the next “Catch of the Day”: the launch firm Rocket Lab published details of its recent “Return to Sender” mission where it recovered the first stage of its Electron rocket after a successful launch.

During Electron’s final few kilometers of descent, the large main parachute successfully deployed, Rocket Lab said, and the stage hit the water at 9 meters per second. The team on board the “Catch of the Day” recovery vessel located the Electron stage shortly after its splashdown and found the carbon composite structure “completely intact.”

“We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome,” the company founded and managed by space pioneer Peter Beck said. Rocket Lab’s first Electron launch is only three and a half years ago; the company has since put almost 100 satellites for its customers in orbit.

“(N)ow we’re confident Electron can become a reusable launch vehicle, so it’s onto the next one,” Rocket Lab said. “In early 2021 we’ll launch another recovery mission, very similar in profile to Return to Sender – another parachute deployment and ocean splashdown, no helicopters just yet.”

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