Rocket Lab to reuse Electron 1st Stage

Rocket Lab announced Aug. 6 it will attempt to recover the first stage of its Electron small launch vehicle over the next several months, eventually reusing it to allow the company to increase its launch rate

The company has already started work to instrument and modify Electron first stages so that they can survive reentry at hypersonic speeds, with the ultimate goal of having stages caught in midair by a helicopter so that they can be easily refurbished and launched again.

Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said in an interview that the goal of this effort is not to reduce launch prices but instead increase the company’s launch rate without having to expand its factory.

“At the moment we just can’t build enough rockets,” he said. The company’s factory current produces one Electron every 30 days. “We need to get that down to one a week.”

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