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Rocket Lab doubles down on marine booster recovery with next Electron launch

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Rocket Lab’s next Electron mission will include another marine recovery attempt of the rocket’s booster, the latest step by the company to advance its reusability program.

The mission, called “Baby Come Back,” will take off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. The launch window opens no earlier than July 14. As part of the mission, the Electron rocket will carry several customer payloads to space, include a 4 CubeSat mission for NASA; two radio frequency satellites for Spire Global; and a demonstration satellite for Space Flight Laboratory.

The mission for NASA, dubbed Starling, will test “swarm” satellite technologies, including autonomous maneuvering and onboard relative navigation between spacecraft.

After launch, Rocket Lab will attempt what it calls a “marine recovery” of the Electron booster, using a parachute to enable a controlled splashdown of the stage in the ocean and fishing it out with a customized vessel. The booster will then be transported back to the company’s production complex for analysis and —…

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