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Rocket Lab catches falling booster with helicopter before dropping it
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Rocket Lab caught the falling booster of its Electron rocket on Monday with a Sikorsky S-92 helicopter before dropping it in the Pacific Ocean.
After capturing the rocket stage, the helicopter crew was forced to let it go for safety reasons.
It was later collected by a waiting boat.
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The California-based aerospace company launched the Electron rocket in the late morning from New Zealand's Mahia Peninsula, sending 34 satellites into orbit before the main booster section began falling back to Earth.
Its descent was slowed to about 10 meters per second by a parachute.
The helicopter then used a long line and a hook to grab the booster's parachute lines at around 6,500 feet.