Rocket Lab recovers Electron booster
July 20, 2023
By Chris Forrester
A Rocket Lab ‘Electron’ rocket has successfully launched seven satellites from its New Zealand operational site. After launch the rocket’s powerful first stage was detached from the mission and returned to Earth with a suite of parachutes for recovery.
The mission was dubbed ‘Baby come back’ and reflected a change in plan. Initially Rocket Lab had planned to capture the rocket’s first stage while in the air. The changes allowed for a successful ‘splash down’ and full recovery of the booster, ready for probable reuse. The team later confirmed the recovered booster was in “great shape”
Electron was carrying four Starling satellites belonging to NASA and two for Spire and its final payload was Telesat’s LEO 3 demonstration satellite which went into a 1000 km orbit.
The flight was the seventh this year for Rocket Lab which specialises in carrying smaller satellites to orbit. The company says it will have around 15 missions this year.
LEO 3 for Telesat is an important test vehicle for Telesat’s Lightspeed constellation of low Earth orbiting satellites. However, full funding for the constellation is not yet in place.