New Zealand company Rocket Lab has reached an important milestone with the successful launch and restoration of its flagship electron rocket. The company's 16th mission included a gentle parachute landing of the first stage booster in the ocean for the first time.
The mission: Electron was launched this morning at around 1:46 a.m. local time from the company's launch site on the southern tip of New Zealand's North Island. The mission successfully deployed 30 satellites in low-earth orbit.
After 2 minutes in flight (over 26,000 feet in the air) the first stage booster separated from the second stage, spun 180 degrees and deployed a parachute that slowed its descent and allowed the crews to make a soft landing in the Pacific successfully emerge to salvage it. It is the first time the company has attempted to regain a rocket booster.