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flyingturtle
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Rocket Labs - Tests, Launches, Developments

Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:11 am

(I didn't find a thread dedicated to the Kiwis in Space, so I start one. Please remove if duplicated.)


Rocket Labs just announced that they want to reuse the first stage of their Electron launcher. With some clever aerobraking they want to manage heat, and a helicopter will fetch the first stage while it is descending on parachutes.

Adding the capability will eat 10 to 20 percent of the Electron's payload, but they want to recover that by developing the first stage further.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/08/0 ... lab_reuse/
Reading accident reports is what calms me down
 
Trololzilla
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Re: Rocket Labs - Tests, Launches, Developments

Thu Aug 08, 2019 7:26 am

Older thread here, but it probably makes more sense to have a general RocketLab thread from now on.
 
WKTaylor
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Re: Rocket Labs - Tests, Launches, Developments

Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:56 pm

I thought that their business concept was to build the 1st stages [and any boosters] cheap-enough that recovery and refurbishment was not 'value added' or 'value saved'.
 
WKTaylor
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Re: Rocket Labs - Tests, Launches, Developments

Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:57 pm

I thought that their business concept was to build the 1st stages [and any boosters] cheap-enough that recovery and refurbishment was not 'value added' or 'value saved'.
 
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Tugger
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Re: Rocket Labs - Tests, Launches, Developments

Tue Aug 13, 2019 7:56 pm

WKTaylor wrote:
I thought that their business concept was to build the 1st stages [and any boosters] cheap-enough that recovery and refurbishment was not 'value added' or 'value saved'.

Well, two things:
An aluminum can is really cheap, but it is still of value to recycle.
And, recovery allows designers to look at what they made and improve on it. Make it cheaper, more efficient, more effective, etc. One and done and you don't get to inspect the results of "what happened" vs "what was intended".

Tugg
I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. - W. Shatner
There are many kinds of sentences that we think state facts about the world but that are really just expressions of our attitudes. - F. Ramsey
 
WKTaylor
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Re: Rocket Labs - Tests, Launches, Developments

Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:24 pm

Tugger...

IF inspecting and/or recycling, then let the 1st stage parachute into the ocean and pop-open flotation bags for water-recovery.

Speculation... Adding light-weight grid-fins [and/or] controllable speed-brakes [petals] [and/or] hypersonic 'ballute(s)' to the upper end of the stage would provide dramatic drag-rise and allow limited aerodynamic steering of the stage body to a guided landing 'spot'... much closer to shore... or the most 'tranquil' water-site... and-or landing close-to' a recovery ship.

HMmmmm.. I wonder if the trans-stage ring/fairing could be redesigned and dual-utilized to add drag and/or recovery guidance... instead of 'just' being jettisoned?

Using a heavy helo for 'airborne recovery' is a sketchy proposition.
 
GDB
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Re: Rocket Labs - Tests, Launches, Developments

Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:32 pm

After a failure on their 13th mission, Rocket Lab has rapidly isolated the problem (as mentioned below), fixed it and had a successful 14th launch;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPIhI5mRDRI

They are working towards parachute and helicopter recovery for future first stages.
 
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Erebus
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Re: Rocket Labs - Tests, Launches, Developments

Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:35 pm

They name their missions with rather eccentric phrases. Sounds like a very SpaceX thing that SpaceX never does. :mischievous:
 
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AirlineCritic
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Re: Rocket Labs - Tests, Launches, Developments

Tue Sep 01, 2020 12:54 pm

WKTaylor wrote:
Using a heavy helo for 'airborne recovery' is a sketchy proposition.


Indeed. I'll be interested to see how that goes.
 
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Erebus
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Re: Rocket Labs - Tests, Launches, Developments

Tue Sep 01, 2020 2:16 pm

AirlineCritic wrote:
WKTaylor wrote:
Using a heavy helo for 'airborne recovery' is a sketchy proposition.


Indeed. I'll be interested to see how that goes.


I think it should be doable. They've already tested the helicopter recovery part of it. Probably the bigger challenge is how to get the first stage to survive the stresses of reentry. This is a very compact rocket and they don't get a lot of weight margin to work with the payloads they launch.

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