Edinburgh / Long Beach, September 2, 2022. – California, end-to-end space company Rocket Lab has successfully tested a repurposed Rutherford first-stage engine for the first time, an important step in making the Electron launch vehicle the world’s first small reusable orbital rocket, said the society.
The engine was launched into space in May on the There And Back Again mission before being returned to Earth. The recovery mission was Rocket Lab’s first attempt at an in-flight capture of Electron’s first stage. As the rocket’s descent slowed with the use of parachutes, a helicopter captured the vehicle in the air.
The full-duration, full-thrust test fire of the refurbished Rutherford engine was successful, passing all acceptance tests. These include 200 seconds of engine fire and multiple restarts. In testing, the engine produced a thrust of 21 kN within 1000 milliseconds of ignition.
The data shows that the reused engine performed at the level of a newly built Rutherford engine. The test results will help Rocket Lab in the future development of the Rutherford Engine.
The article is in French
. Rocket Lab tests with success lights engine Rutherford reused