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Any modifications to the Electron for recovery purposes will therefore need to be exceptionally minimal. This early in the program, Rocket Lab is reluctant to say what those modifications would entail.

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Even assuming Rocket Lab upgrades the Electron to the point it can survive reentry and deploy its deceleration devices, they still need to figure out a way to get it down on the ground in one piece. As shown in the rendered video, the plan right now is to snatch the Electron out of the air by flying a helicopter over the descending rocket and grappling it. In fact, it would appear that this part of the plan has already been completed. In , Lockheed Martin a strategic investor in Rocket Lab since partnered with a PDG Aviation Services to conduct a little-publicized mid-air helicopter recovery of a mock rocket stage, and the similarities are hard to ignore.

The fundamental goal of any reusable launch system is for subsequent reflights to be more economical and less time consuming than simply building a new booster for each mission, and in such a demanding field, even relatively minor gains are generally considered a success. But ideally the less time and money spent between launches, the better. The Electron does away with the complex gas generator and turbine arrangement traditionally used in liquid rockets , and instead uses electrically-driven pumps for the fuel and oxidizer.

Matchstick Rockets

A smaller team can go over every inch of the Electron in a fraction of the time it would take a much larger crew to thoroughly examine the Falcon 9, for example. SpaceX has so far demonstrated a turnaround time of a little over two months from landing to reflight, but Rocket Lab may be poised to reduce that time to a few weeks.

But even if they never quite hit that lofty goal, it seems clear the days of crashing used rockets into the ocean are coming to a close. We did it in the s with the film return capsules from the Corona spy satellite. Granted, these were probably smaller than the Electron rocket, but this seems a pretty solvable engineering problem.

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Not only do they need to survive reentry from orbit, they first need to orient and deorbit themselves! And then on the way down, their location needs to be known precisely enough for the recovery plane to get a visual on the parachute. All with s technology, pre-GPS and everything. Quite a lot of them simply failed on launch, and the capsules were dropped all over the place with a poor recovery rate.

With a diameter of only 1.

I think the most likely option is a big net to lay the rocket in. Simple and effective.


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Though helicopters are in common use as cranes, so a net may actually be overkill. A few years ago I would have said this was nothing but a PR stunt, but anymore it seems like anything is possible. If memory serves it was just the film package and camera that re-entered, parachuted, then snatched from the air by a C It was very successful. Was also used with harness to grab a human off the ground. This is a whole rocket body. No chopper is large and maneuverable enough to handle it plus there is the problem of main rotor diameter.

The G forces of an airplane retrieval seem prohibitive. Would have to let it settle into the water and then retrieve it with a ship and handle salt water issues. Empty mass is claimed to be 0. Hiller had a plan to catch the Saturn V with a rocket tip helicopter. A parafoil for that size is going to be quite large and heavy. Point is, if you give up kg or more kg?

A re-usable rocket tends to be heavier and require more fuel, in addition to the inefficiency that recovery entails. That figure is the launch mass, so it includes payload, propellants, and the second and third stages. And because everything in space travel is a challenge. Make the engines and fuel pumps quick and easy to remove and replace, then ones that have been checked over and repaired as needed can be swapped into the rocket.

With more engines and pumps than rockets, a steady stream of ready to fly parts can be available to fit to the re-used rocket bodies. Since all of the pieces are appropriately slotted, they go together quickly and hold themselves roughly in place. Assemble them around the bottle which is about to become a permanent part of this rocket. Using the hot glue gun, apply a bead of glue to all of the seams that you can reasonably reach.

If you want a less permanent solution, and perhaps an easier way to make repairs, you could tape all of the joints. Hot gluing is faster and I plan to just cut out another cardboard frame as necessary. The heat will weaken the bottle even if it does not put an actual hole in the bottle which can lead to a frightening rupture on the launch pad. The basic rocket is now ready for launch!

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How the Soyuz rocket compares with the rest

Building a launcher is outside the scope of this instructable, but there are lots of online references for that. For even better performance you can improve the rocket with an actual aerodynamic nose cone. The simple way to do this is wrap the nose cone area with tape making the three dimensional nose cone shape.

If you want to get fancy you can first fill the cavities with expanding foam, shape them with a knife, then wrap the nose cone. As a final note many school physics classes have rocket building challenges often involving adding a raw egg payload that has to survive the flight. This same design can be adapted to a detachable nose cone with an area to hold an egg capsule and a parachute, but I'll leave that up to the students to experiment with.

How many fins does it take for the rocket to be efficient in going the farthest away from the ground? Reply 2 years ago. Reply 3 years ago. Hey great design. IVe been hot glueing to the bottle and always hated seeing the weakened plastic. I've not had a bottle blow up nut I'm always worried it might. I want to copy your design them cover the exterior in plastic. I must say, this is the nicest looking waterbottle rocket out there, and as out there as the people grownups , who love making and using them! Reply 4 years ago on Introduction.

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I Made It! Solar Class. Reply Upvote. Are there any other tips to make a water rocket go the farthest without Mintos or baking soda? SAMT 1 year ago. DesiraeG darkdom05 Reply 2 years ago.