Rocket Lab “Catch Me If You Can” Launch and Recovery Attempt

Rocket Lab plans to launch an Electron rocket on 2022-11-04 in a launch window between 17:15 and 18:30 UTC to deliver the Mesospheric Airglow/Aerosol Tomography and Spectroscopy (MATS) micro-satellite (~ 50 kg) into a 585 km Sun-synchronous orbit at 98° inclination. The satellite was built by OHB Sweden for the Swedish National Space Agency to study pressure waves in the upper atmosphere in the 75–110 km region where noctilucent clouds form.

This flight will be the first attempt to successfully recover the Electron first stage booster, catching it in mid-air with a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter as it descends under a parachute. On the “There and Back Again” launch on 2022-05-02, the helicopter caught the descending booster but was forced to release it shortly thereafter because the helicopter crew was dissatisfied with how it was behaving after capture. This will be the first recovery attempt since then.

I will add the live stream for this launch to this post once it becomes available.

Here is the pre-flight preview from Everyday Astronaut.