SpaceX have perfected the art of landing a rocket back on Earth after it’s been in orbit, now Rocket Labs are taking it one step further by catching the first stage of its Electron rocket in mid-air.
While this may sound like nothing more than a pipe dream, the company has released a video that shows they aren’t too far off from achieving ultimate goal of retrieving a used stage rocket from a real launch.
In the video, you can see one helicopter dropping an Electron test stage rocket to simulate a falling rocket and another helicopter hooking the stage’s parachute with a grappling hook at around 1,524 meters and towing it back to land.
This impressive feat was pulled off in early March over the ocean surrounding New Zealand. Rocket Lab’s next attempt at retrieving a used rocket will involve the company recovering a full Electron stage rocket from an actual launch.
If Rocket Lab is indeed able to reach the next step and recover a used stage rocket from an actual launch, it could significantly lower costs, in turn allowing the company to do more launch in the future.