Rocket Lab to Attempt First Mid-Air Helicopter Capture of the Electron Rocket During Next Mission

Rocket Lab’s Sikorsky S-92 helicopter arrives in preparation for first Electron mid-air capture attempt (Credit: Business Wire)

For the first time, Rocket Lab will attempt a mid-air helicopter capture of an Electron rocket as it returns to Earth from space, furthering the company’s program to make Electron the first reusable orbital small launch vehicle

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab”), a leading launch and space systems company, has announced today that during its next Electron launch, a commercial rideshare mission currently scheduled in April 2022, the company will attempt a mid-air helicopter capture of the Electron launch vehicle for the first time.

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Hat-trick for Exolaunch with SpaceX Transporter Missions

  • Exolaunch’s Most Technologically and Geographically Diverse Mission of Smallsats Launched via SpaceX’s Transporter-3 Rideshare Mission
  • Company Completed International Launch Campaign for 29 Satellites, Including Microsatellites, Cubesats up to 16U and PocketQubes
  • New and Returning Customers from Four Continents and Seventeen Countries

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., & BERLIN, Germany, January 27, 2022 (Exolaunch PR) – In its third dedicated rideshare mission with SpaceX, Exolaunch, the leading global provider of launch, in-space logistics and deployment services, successfully integrated and launched 29 small satellites from customers across the globe. The company’s rideshare clusters aboard the SpaceX  Transporter-3 mission were an amalgamation of microsats, cubesats (up to 16U) and PocketQubes. The combination of customers from 17 countries across four continents, and an unprecedented number of very sophisticated payloads made it the most technologically rich and geographically spread integration effort for the company yet.

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SpaceX to Launch Transporter-3 Mission on Thursday

Falcon 9 launches the Transporter-2 mission. (Credit: SpaceX)

CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE BASE, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — SpaceX is targeting Thursday, January 13 for a Falcon 9 launch of Transporter-3 to orbit from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The 29-minute launch window opens at 10:25 a.m. EST, or 15:25 UTC, and a backup opportunity is available on Friday, January 14 with the same window.

Falcon 9’s first stage booster previously launched Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, and five Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Transporter-3 is SpaceX’s third dedicated rideshare mission, and on board this launch are 105 spacecraft (including CubeSats, microsats, PocketQubes, and orbital transfer vehicles).

A live webcast of this mission will begin about 15 minutes prior to liftoff.