Send students to space – why not?

Reusability drives the New Zealand-based company Rocket Lab to launch a market for small rockets that uses helicopter and parachute as it lands back on Earth. The question is: is there a possibility to send students to space?

Rocket Lab is on its way in developing Electron rockets in a similar ground as Elon Musk’s SpaceX. 

The difference between these two space companies is that SpaceX uses an automatic landing placed on a drone ship. This could be positioned in either on land or ocean. With Rocket Lab, the company will proceed with helicopter capture during the initial stage mid-air landing.

Rocket Lab CEO, Peter Beck, describe the helicopter mid-air capture as “not hard at all.” He said to Ars that it has been done before by Corona Missions since the 1950s.

The challenging part, he added, is how to get “through the atmosphere” and figuring out the “sensible speed” required particularly when it re-enters back to Earth’s atmosphere. For the solution, the company will employ “unique aerodynamic decelerators” to control and oversee the velocity as a whole:

I guess that’s kind of the magic of what we’re trying to do. That’s something that we’ve been a little bit less public on, some of the techniques we’re developing for that.

Once the Electron rocket has been launched and exits from the Earth’s atmosphere, the booster will come back and re-enter back to Earth by exhibiting eight point five (8.5) times the speed of sound.

This is when the aerodynamic decelerators come in. It will slow down the rocket within only seventy (70) seconds which will then have the booster release the parachute, The helicopter will capture it on air to carry it back to its designated station.

Rocket Lab revealed that first stage recovery attempts will be conducted in the coming year. If the project became triumphant, it will be the next and only company second to SpaceX which has done the same feat.

Beck stated that the project “stimulates more opportunities” and confirmed that they were “nowhere close to keeping up with the demand” to their customers. Opportunities for people for space launch is closer than we have ever before and possibly, for students as well.