Change in command aboard the Space Station


Rocket Lab catches, drops rocket booster with helicopter in key reusability test

Small launch firm Rocket Lab USA Inc on Monday captured a falling rocket stage out of the air with a helicopter before dropping it in the ocean, appearing to achieve a partially successful test of the company’s novel cost-savings approach to recovering used rockets for multiple mission to space. The demonstration, involving parachutes and a long cable hanging from a helicopter, sought to check off a key milestone for the Long Beach, California-based company as it ventures to slash the cost of sending things into space, an industry trend pioneered by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX. After lifting off to send 34 satellites toward orbit at 10:50 a.m. (2250 GMT) in New Zealand, the Long Beach, California-based company’s four-story-tall Electron booster stage fell back through Earth’s atmosphere and deployed a series of parachutes to brake its speed.

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