Rocket Lab Launcher

Flyaway

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Couple of pieces on the failure investigation in this interview (which is Paywalled):

Rocket Lab's founder and CEO Peter Beck opens up about the company's recent launch failure — and its spacecraft to reach the moon, Venus, or even Mars
Dave Mosher 10 hours ago


”[...] But the good news is that it was a very graceful failure," Beck said.

By "graceful," Beck essentially means that the upper-stage rocket did not explode into pieces (and take crucial failure data with it).

Instead, the Electron's single Rutherford rocket engine shut down and provided the company enough time to download a maximum amount of data before the launcher (and its payload) burned up in Earth's atmosphere.

Engineers expect to conclude an investigation "in the next few weeks," a spokesperson told Business Insider on Tuesday.
 

Michel Van

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Rocket Lab SmallSat Update and Q&A was on You tube
Peter Beck announcement:


Electron Payload is increased to 300 kg, by improve the electrical Turbopumps.
What let to new payload faring for rocket. (not recovery)

Photon upper stage get update for Lunar and Interplanetary mission with 30 kg payload
with hypergol engine with solar power electrical Turbopumps, called Hypercurie

Flight 17 will be first recovery attempt of Electron first stage

End 2020 LC1B launch pad is ready to launch rockets.

2021 Rocket Lab will increase to 24 launches per year

In 2023 Rocket Lab will launch Interplanetary mission to Venus
Beck want to explore Venus and it's atmosphere and find answer on question is there live there ?

No Kennedy Space center Electron launch pad (was proposed as LC-3)
Beck declare that current Pads LC-1, LC-1b and LC-2 are adequate for there needs


View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhqzSVEGVxw
 

Flyaway

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TomS

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Update recover program
Flight 16 ist first attempt
They drop air catch in favor sea recovery

Sea reovery only for the early flights, while they're trying to see what parts need to be modified to make reuse possible. Once they have it in a state where they realistically expect to be able to reuse the stage, they plan to start doing the in-flight recovery to avoid the salt water exposure issue.


"I'm sure there's going to be a ton of work on heat shields and on various bits and pieces that we'll need to get right," [company founder Peter Beck] said. "When we've reached the point where we have something that's in a condition that we actually care that it doesn't get wet, we'll start bringing the helicopter in."
 

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"Ultimately try to lower the cost." (@54:00 about stage recovery)
...

Ultimately only?!?
 

TomS

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"Ultimately try to lower the cost." (@54:00 about stage recovery)
...

Ultimately only?!?

Yep. They say the main goal is to improve launch cadence because their new construction pipeline can't keep up with demand.
 

TomcatViP

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I don't believe it a single second. First, there is their video that sound cheap every single frame and then the fact that their market leader offers significant discount with re-used core to translate the increased risk.
Here we have a splash down that increases wear and corrosion (not every things are built from resin) with a company that just passed the experimental phase on this process (to be gentle).

I firmly also believe that they went away with air recovery on cost ground...

My 2 cents.
 
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TomS

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First, there is their video that sound cheap every single frame

You might consider that RocketLab is an order of magnitude smaller than SpaceX (actually close to a factor of 20 smaller in terms of employees) and probably don't have a huge amount of money to spend on slick video production for their launch stream.

Here we have a splash down that increases wear and corrosion (not every things are built from resin) with a company that just passed the experimental phase on this process (to be gentle).

I firmly also believe that they went away with air recovery on cost ground...

My 2 cents.

Believe what you want, but I think it's pretty rude to imply that they are lying in their own videos. They say they have not gone away from air recovery. They've been clear that they are doing water recoveries for now because they do not expect these initial recovered boosters to be fit for reflight, so they are saving a step (and yes, some cost, presumably) until they are confident that they have a version that can be reflown. Once they get to that point, air recovery is still the plan because they don't ant to try to refly a motor that has been dunked in salt water.
 

TomcatViP

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@TomS : Ok. I do admit it sounds kind rude.

However when I am talking about "cheap" video it's in no way a judgement on the video by themselves but what we see in it.
 
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Archibald

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I often wonder, what kind of helicopter do you need to tow a parachute with a rocket stage hanging from it. Chinook ? Mi-26 ?

How hard is towing with helicopters ? I'm only familiar with light aircraft towing gliders.

The neat thing with helicopters catching things midair under parachutes, is that closing speed can be brought to zero. By contrast, Hercules snatching 2000 pounds CORONA capsules couldn't get slower than 200 miles per hour... and the jolt was BRUTAL.
 

TomS

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I often wonder, what kind of helicopter do you need to tow a parachute with a rocket stage hanging from it. Chinook ? Mi-26 ?

How hard is towing with helicopters ? I'm only familiar with light aircraft towing gliders.

The neat thing with helicopters catching things midair under parachutes, is that closing speed can be brought to zero. By contrast, Hercules snatching 2000 pounds CORONA capsules couldn't get slower than 200 miles per hour... and the jolt was BRUTAL.

They've tested with a Bell 429 (basically a grown up Long Ranger), so not a huge helo. But then, the Electron is a really small booster.

They have a recovery rig that deflates the parachute after capture, so they are just "towing" a drogue. It's pretty much like any other sling load -- you go slow, and don't plan to go very far.
 

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Flyaway

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@TomS : Ok. I do admit it sounds kind rude.

However when I am talking about "cheap" video it's in no way a judgement on the video by themselves but what we see in it.
These recoveries are data gathering exercises. You seem to being both overly judgemental and critical over what they are doing considering they are a much smaller company than Space X. Please note on Twitter Elon himself congratulated them on this recovery.
 

Michel Van

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You’re doing it again posting at least the second tweet anyway I’ve already posted on this thread.:)
Sorry about that,
my browser has issue to show twitter post correctly in Forums post.
i will delete the post
 

Hobbes

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I don't believe it a single second. First, there is their video that sound cheap every single frame and then the fact that their market leader offers significant discount with re-used core to translate the increased risk.
Here we have a splash down that increases wear and corrosion (not every things are built from resin) with a company that just passed the experimental phase on this process (to be gentle).

I firmly also believe that they went away with air recovery on cost ground...

My 2 cents.

That video is not the original, but a commentary by Everyday Astronaut. This is the original.

This particular recovery is their first attempt, in the full knowledge that they won't be able to reuse the stage. It's a data gathering exercise. SpaceX did the same, with several stages that attempted to 'land' on the water surface before the first ship landing was tried.
RocketLab's plan is still to do midair recovery with a helicopter, but they're working towards it in steps. The previous launch did a reentry burn, this parachute landing is the next step.
 

Flyaway

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I don't believe it a single second. First, there is their video that sound cheap every single frame and then the fact that their market leader offers significant discount with re-used core to translate the increased risk.
Here we have a splash down that increases wear and corrosion (not every things are built from resin) with a company that just passed the experimental phase on this process (to be gentle).

I firmly also believe that they went away with air recovery on cost ground...

My 2 cents.

That video is not the original, but a commentary by Everyday Astronaut. This is the original.

This particular recovery is their first attempt, in the full knowledge that they won't be able to reuse the stage. It's a data gathering exercise. SpaceX did the same, with several stages that attempted to 'land' on the water surface before the first ship landing was tried.
RocketLab's plan is still to do midair recovery with a helicopter, but they're working towards it in steps. The previous launch did a reentry burn, this parachute landing is the next step.
It doesn’t do a reentry burn as it can’t spare the fuel for one unlike the Falcon 9 being a much smaller launcher, the recovery is a controlled fall.
 

Hobbes

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My main point was: the previous launch tested the first part of landing, i.e. the reentry. I was mistaken about there being a reentry burn, but the point stands: gradual testing of the landing process.
 

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