Main Engine Cut Off

Rocket Lab Completes Mid-Air Recovery Test

The test was conducted by dropping an Electron first stage test article from a helicopter over open ocean in New Zealand. A parachute was then deployed from the stage, before a second helicopter closed in on the descending stage and captured it mid-air at around 5,000 ft, using a specially designed grappling hook to snag the parachute’s drogue line. After capturing the stage on the first attempt, the helicopter safely carried the suspended stage back to land.

It’s good to see them making quick work on this reusability effort. They released a ton of video to go along with this, and from watching that, it sure looks like a Rocket Lab-painted version of PDG Aviation’s 2017 test in cooperation with Airborne Systems and Lockheed Martin.