Rocket Lab’s latest video from space is only 32-seconds long, but you may want to set aside several minutes to roll the tape a few hundred times. It’s that good. The launch company shared the first-ever look at booster stage separation of its Electron rocket from space. Visually and sonically, you have to experience this for yourself.
Rocket Lab’s footage was captured during the recent ‘Return to Sender’ mission. During the mission, Rocket Lab made its first attempt to recover the first stage booster from its Electron rocket after liftoff.
The first stage booster includes most of the fuel used to send a payload to space, then the smaller second stage booster generally includes enough fuel to place the payload correctly in orbit. Recovering the larger first stage booster for refurbishment for future flights is SpaceX’s trick for lowering the cost of spaceflight.
Rocket Lab is taking initial steps toward Electron rocket reusability, but for now it relies on cranking out one rocket per month for fast turnaround times before launches. Starting next year, Rocket Lab will continue to recover first stage boosters and investigate reusing parts of hardware and eventually entire boosters. The company also has a action movie-worthy booster recovery method using helicopters. Seriously, it’s rad.
And as cool as catching flight-proven rocket boosters by helicopter will be, it’s tough to beat the pure goodness that is capturing video of stage separation in space. Rocket Lab seriously outdid theirselves with this footage. Be sure to crank up the volume.
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck has shared two more perspectives from booster recovery since the initial video was published:
- Rocket Lab’s next Electron launch, set for December 12, is called ‘The Owl’s Night Begins’
- Rocket Lab sending Half-Life payload to space for Valve’s Gabe Newell in charity campaign
- Rocket Lab launches first in-house Photon satellite ‘New Light’ as surprise payload in return to flight