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RocketLab have become the leading dedicated smallsat launch provider with their small Electron rocket able to launch 150kg into low earth orbit for about 5million dollars. As a private space company they’ve been getting lots of comparisons to SpaceX but until now the CEO Peter Beck had maintained that unlike SpaceX they would not be reusing rockets. On Tuesday they announced that the company had plans to develop this technology, using an entirely passive booster descent profile and capture by a Helicopter.
And they’re not the only launch provider looking seriously at recovering and reusing rocket hardware, this week China launched a Long March 2C rocket with grid fins steering the booster to its final impact point.