back to article Rocket Lab CEO tucks into hat as company shares plans to reuse Electron first stage

After SpaceX and Roscosmos announced plans to move into the burgeoning small satellite market, Rocket Lab upped the ante with details on how it would be making its own launcher, Electron, reusable. CEO and founder Peter Beck took to the stage at SmallSat 2019 to make the announcement after first telling the audience: "I find …

  1. Kane


    "Beck said that the aerodynamic loads alone would be equivalent to perching three elephants atop the Electron stack."

    It's elephants, all the way up!

    1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

      Re: Elephants

      "We have just the thing"

      Apparently we don't, as elephants are not mentioned in the relevant conversions. Fear not, dear reader, for I have done a thing for you! Three elephants are equivalent to approximately two thousand Adult Badgers (and if you've ever seen what an Adult Badger can do to a Morris Minor travelling at 32 miles per hour that will give you some indication of just how big an elephant really is. Quite big!).

  2. Hull

    Eat his hat?

    Why, harmless fetish?

  3. cdrcat

    Same technique as NASA investigated for recapturing a Saturn V booster: The helicopter would be gigantic. The rotor diameter would be over 120 meters. Its empty weight would be over 200,000 kilograms, with a gross weight of a whopping 453,000 kilograms. From:

    To see vid, start just before 10 minutes:

    1. jmch Silver badge

      Catching a rocket by helicopter??

      This DOES sound insane! How would it even work? Rocket is falling down vertically, helicopter rotor blades are above it. So possible options...

      - Helicopter climbs to altitude, vertical dives to match rocket speed and has a narrow window in which to approach, snag it and straighten out??

      - rocket / parachute trails a line that an arm on the helicopter can recover??

      - multiple helicopters hold a net between them??

      All of those seem rather unfeasible / highly impractical / speculative. This sounds like something that you would roll your eyes at if seen as a stunt in a Holywood movie

      EDIT - I see that the NASA proposal was 'plan B'. As I said, insane! But look like lots of fun :)

      1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

        Re: Catching a rocket by helicopter??

        It gets even insaner: the helicopter rotors need to have their own rocket boosters at the tips because the tips are moving faster than the speed of sound! Probably not allowed near libraries.

  4. Alister

    The Blackbox Recorder and Useful Telemetry Upload System (BRUTUS)

    I like. :)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Blackbox Recorder and Useful Telemetry Upload System (BRUTUS) will measure loads all the way down to the ocean.

    Must be an Ohio State Grad.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    ""I find myself in the position of eating my hat.""

    Including the corks?

    Poor jokes aside this may be a recognition that smaller ELV's are not quite as cheap to make as people think.


    Turns out there's a report that describe year on year performance growth of Li ion batteries. It's about 10%/year.

    So cost push meets meets technology pull to move reusability along. Note also their size of stage is viable without a custom built chopper to carry it. The jokers are the severe jerk loads (parachute deployment, capture by helicopter) requiring significant mounting hardware --> substantial weight increase.

    Exciting times, eh?

  7. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    They could land on a long line of progressively smaller trampolines, and finish with a flourish

    1. Spherical Cow Silver badge

      Minecraft fans want to see it caught by a Cobweb block.

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