Rocket Report: Rocket Lab may drop helicopter recovery; ULA up for sale?

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launched a Starlink mission near sunset on Tuesday, and yeah, the result was gorgeous. (credit: SpaceX)

Welcome to Edition 5.28 of the Rocket Report! We have had a big week for news about United Launch Alliance. All three items in the “Heavy Rockets” section concern the company, which may only be two months away from the much-anticipated debut of its Vulcan booster. Let’s go!

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Rocket Lab may abandon helicopter recoveries. In comments during a February 28 earnings call, Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said the company was weighing recovering stages from the ocean and refurbishing them for launch rather than catching a stage with a helicopter, Space News reports. During a second “catch” attempt last November, Rocket Lab called off the helicopter’s approach because of a momentary loss of telemetry from the booster. The company instead allowed the stage to splash down in the ocean, where a boat recovered it and returned it to Rocket Lab’s facilities.

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