Mahia peninsula, NZ — Recently, Rocket Lab's "running out of toes" mission had a failed second stage ignition it the upper atmosphere, resulting in a loss of mission, or at least that's what we thought. After launch, a member of the Rocket Lab recovery crew, named Beter Peck, tweeted out this picture, showing the second stage of the two stage electron rocket floating in the ocean. He accepted our request for an interview and here's what he had to say.
So, Peter has been teasing "something special" with the second stage of electron, but he had never told us what it was, so we were shocked when he told us to go to a certain coordinates, and found the second stage of electron! They're still being really secretive about it back at mission control, but we've been able to make out the basics. So, in order to test out the ability to propulsively land for neutron, they decided that in a specific series of events during an abort, they should try to propulsively land the second stage.
As of now, Rocket Lab has not announced how this system works, but, because this event occurred, Rocket Lab can claim the #3 prize for "fully reusable suborbital rocket", falling behind blue origin and Virgin Galactic, and knocking SpaceX's starship out of the top 3!