Chapter 19. Helicopter Recovery

Have you ever watched a maple seed drop from a tree and twist slowly to the ground? It’s nature’s version of helicopter recovery. By deflecting the air to create spin, the seed slows its fall. In the case of the maple tree, it keeps the seed in the air longer so the wind can carry it farther from the parent tree. In the case of a rocket, helicopter recovery gives us a showy way to slow the descent of a rocket. Helicopter recovery is a constant draw at any launch.

Nature’s expert at helicopter recovery, the maple tree spreads its seeds by keeping them in the air longer so the wind can move them farther away.
Figure 19-1. Nature’s expert at helicopter recovery, the maple tree spreads its seeds by keeping them in the air longer so the wind can move them farther ...

Get Make: Rockets now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.