Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket. | Image: Rocket Lab
On Rocket Lab’s next launch to space, the company plans to go through all of the necessary steps to recover one of its rockets after takeoff — except for the very last step of actually catching the vehicle before it hits the ocean. This dress rehearsal should put Rocket Lab on course to save a rocket after an upcoming flight so that the vehicle can be flown again on a future mission.
The move is part of an ongoing quest by Rocket Lab to see if the company can reuse its primary rocket, called the Electron. The company’s end goal is similar to that of SpaceX, which recovers and reuses its rockets after flight. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets target either a landing pad or an autonomous drone ship in the ocean following takeoff.