Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
FILE - Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck poses alongside a Rutherford rocket engine in Auckland, New Zealand, Oct. 20, 2015. VOA

Small-satellite launch firm Rocket Lab announced on Tuesday a plan to recover the core booster of its Electron rocket using a helicopter, a bold cost-saving concept that, if successful, would make it the second company after Elon Musk’s SpaceX to reuse an orbital-class rocket booster.

“Electron is going reusable,” Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck said during a presentation in Utah, showing an animation of the rocket sending a payload into a shallow orbit before speeding back through Earth’s atmosphere. “Launch frequency is the absolute key here.”

The Auckland, New Zealand-based company is one of a growing cadre of launch companies looking to slash the cost of sending shoebox-sized satellites to low Earth orbit, building smaller rockets and reinventing traditional production lines to meet a growing payload demand.


Electron, which has flown seven missions so far, can send up to 496 pounds (225 kg) into space for roughly $7 million.


FILE – A SpaceX Falcon heavy rocket lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., June 25, 2019. Pixabay

Medium-class launchers such as Los Angeles-based Relativity Space can send up to 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg) into space for $10 million while Cedar Park, Texas-based firm Firefly can do it for $15 million.

Unlike SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which reignites its engines to land steadily back on Earth “propulsively” after much larger missions costing around $62 million, Rocket Lab’s Electron will deploy a series of parachutes to slow its fall through what Beck called “the wall” – the violently fast and burning hot reentry process the booster endures shooting back through Earth’s atmosphere.

A helicopter will then hook the booster’s parachute in mid-air as it descends over the ocean and tow it back to a boat for recovery, Beck said.

“The grand goal here is, if we can capture the vehicle in wonderful condition, in theory we should be able to put it back on the pad, recharge the batteries up, and go again,” Beck said.

Also Read- US Reiterates Terror War Support as Kenya Commemorates Bombing of Its Embassy

Some launch companies, such as Boeing-Lockheed venture United Launch Alliance which flies its Atlas V rocket, are skeptical of the economic case for reusing first-stage boosters propulsively, arguing that the fuel spent landing the rocket through the dense atmosphere and back on Earth would be better used to launch heavier payloads.

Beck said propulsive recoveries like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 “don’t scale well” with Electron’s smaller build, anyway. A spokeswoman would not say how much money Rocket Lab expects to save from its foray into hardware reusability, but said “cost reductions could flow from this in time.” (VOA)


Popular

People stroll early morning at the Mumbai promenade.

Prior to the brutal second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cautioned civil services probationers against developing the despised "babu mindset". He gave the invaluable piece of advice while addressing civil services probies at the well-known Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie via video-conferencing. He also outlined the keystone mantra of "minimum government and maximum governance".

With the recent collapse of the under-construction flyover in Bandra Kurla Complex which injured 14 labourers, it seems like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got the PM's keystone mantra all wrong. The recent flyover collapse isn't an isolated incident, in fact, a month ago a similarly bemusing incident took place in the eastern part of the suburbs.

Keep Reading Show less
Pixabay

Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere.

Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.

The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

Pind Daan at Jagannath Ghat, Kolkata.

The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.

It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.

Keep reading... Show less