Epic entry into the atmosphere of the Electron rocket is caught on video

The head of Rocket Lab, Peter Beck, published a video made by the onboard camera of the first stage of the Electron rocket. It demonstrates the moment of its entry into the atmosphere.

The published video was recorded on March 24, 2023. On that day, Electron was putting a pair of BlackSky satellites into orbit. Its first stage successfully completed its part and separated from the rocket at an altitude of about 80 km. Then it entered the Earth’s atmosphere. At that moment, the stage was moving at a speed of about 2350 m/s.

The bright lights that can be seen in the video are not the consequences of the operation of its engines. This is plasma formed as a result of entering the atmosphere, which reached a maximum temperature of 2400 °C. The heat shield installed on the first stage of Rocket Lab successfully coped with its task, protecting the stage from exposure to high temperatures.

Next, the stage released a parachute and landed in the Pacific Ocean, after which it was removed from the water and delivered to the Rocket Lab plant. According to the company, the Rutherford engines installed on it (the most valuable component of the unit) are in excellent condition. This makes it quite possible to restore the stage and reuse it in a new mission.

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