Move over, Elon! SpaceX rival wants to catch its rocket boosters with ...

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Move over, Elon! SpaceX rival wants to catch its rocket boosters with HELICOPTERS Rocket Lab plans to recover and re-fly first stage of its Electron launch vehicle  This will increase frequency by eliminating need for new builds for every mission Follows SpaceX reusing rockets for multiple launches via controlled landings

By Peter Lloyd for MailOnline

Published: 12:17 BST, 7 August 2019 | Updated: 13:01 BST, 7 August 2019

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Scientists in California are planning to recycle rocket boosters - by catching them as they fall to Earth using helicopters.

Experts at Rocket Lab - a company who specialise in smaller satellite launches - plans to do recover their boosters before they hit the ground.  

The move aims to increase launch frequency and slash production costs by eliminating the need to build a new first stage for every mission.

The ambitious plans were revealed at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah, this week, and comes after SpaceX unveiled their SmallSat Rideshare Program. 

Recycle: Experts at Rocket Lab - a company who specialise in smaller satellite launches - plans to do this by using helicopters as part of their recover mission

Recycle: Experts at Rocket Lab - a company who specialise in smaller satellite launches - plans to do this by using helicopters as part of their recover mission

HOW WILL IT WORK? 

The rocket booster will open a parachute with a shackle to kept it in a horizontal position. 

A helicopter would then launch from a  nearby ship and grab the booster by hooking the tether.

Then, it would carry everything back to the ship. 

The plan to reuse the first section of a rocket, called Electron, will be implemented in two phases. 

The first phase will see Rocket Lab attempt to recover a full Electron first stage from the ocean downrange of Launch Complex 1 and have it shipped back to Rocket Lab's Production Complex for refurbishment. 

The second phase will see Electron's first stage captured mid-air by helicopter, before the stage is transported back to Launch Complex 1 for refurbishment and relaunch. 

The company plans to begin first stage recovery attempts in the coming year.

A major step towards Rocket Lab's reusability plans was completed on the company's most recent launch, the Make It Rain mission, which launched on 29 June from Launch Complex 1. 

The first stage on this mission carried critical instrumentation and experiments that provided data to inform future recovery efforts. 

The next Electron mission, scheduled for launch in August, will also carry recovery instrumentation.

Catch: The ambitious plans were revealed at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah, this week, and comes after SpaceX unveiled their SmallSat Rideshare Program

Catch: The ambitious plans were revealed at the Small Satellite Conference in Utah, this week, and comes after SpaceX unveiled their SmallSat Rideshare Program

A major step towards Rocket Lab¿s reusability plans was completed on the company¿s most recent launch, the Make It Rain mission, which launched on 29 June from Launch Complex 1

A major step towards Rocket Lab's reusability plans was completed on the company's most recent

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