The video of the launch shows a boat with a large net attached to it floating on a dimly lit ocean surface.
The fairing drops gracefully down to earth and lands comfortably in the net.
Following the breaking away of the fairing once it reaches space, thrusters and a guidance system guide the pieces back to Earth.
Parachutes are then deployed to slow the descent.
The boat carrying a gigantic net, known as Ms Tree, breaks the fairing’s fall.
The idea behind the catching process is that it is more cost beneficial to reuse nose cones rather than simply let them fall away.
Russian space officials have since shifted from previously dismissing the financial benefits of a reusable rocket case to developing their own unique design bureau specifically for building reusable launch vehicles.
European scientists also rejected reusable rockets but are now building their own Falcon 9-like rocket.
The next Japanese rocket, following its new H3 booster, is likely to be reusable and China is scrambling to develop its own model similar to SpaceX.
Tweeting early on Sunday night, SpaceX boss Elon Musk posted a video of SpaceX’s net-equipped ship M. Tree perfectly positioning itself below the …
After a number of delays due to hardware issues as well as bad weather, SpaceX finally managed to send the AMOS-17 communications satellite into Earth orbit last night. The mission went well, with the SpaceX Falcon 9 completing its third mission, but due to the nature of this particular launch, it wasn’t possible for the company to recover its rocket stage a third time.
However, that didn’t stop SpaceX from recovering another valuable piece of its high-tech hardware. The nosecone fairing is something that the company has been trying to catch and reuse for some time, and it finally snagged one for the first time back in late June. Now, SpaceX has done it again, and we have video of the catch to prove it.
Tweeting early on Sunday night, SpaceX boss Elon Musk posted a video of SpaceX’s net-equipped ship M. Tree perfectly positioning itself below the slowly-descending nosecone, allowing it to gently fall into its huge net:
SpaceX has spent many months trying to perfect the art of catching its rocket fairings, and it’s had no shortage of problems along the way. The awkward shape of the nosecone halves makes it hard to predict their path, and many failures shaped the design of the chute system that the fairings are now equipped with.
SpaceX’s reusable rocket technology has proven itself already, with the company sending many of the first stages of its Falcon 9s into space multiple times. Doing so can dramatically shorten the turnaround time between launches while also allowing the company to offer its services at a lower cost.
Catching and reusing its nosecones isn’t as big of a deal, but it can still help the company’s business model and potentially lower costs even further, but only if SpaceX can make a habit of catching them without issue.
Late Tuesday night, GO Ms. Tree, a SpaceX boat, caught half of the nose cone of its Falcon 9 rocket for the second time and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk posted the cool “save at sea” footage on Twitter.
For the last 18 months, SpaceX has made catching fairings a major priority for space missions, The Verge reported. Fairings, structures that surround payloads and satellites that Falcon 9 rockets carry, protect these important objects during launches. Even though they typically break into two in space, descend back to Earth, and aren’t always retrieved, Musk said the company does the opposite.
“Imagine you had $6 million in cash in a palette flying through the air, and it’s going to smash into the ocean,” Musk explained at a 2018 press conference. “Would you try to recover that? Yes. Yes, you would.”
Tuesday’s video, which was shared to Twitter, shows the fairing gently landing into the SpaceX boat’s net in the Atlantic Ocean. The fairing fell from the sky roughly 75 minutes after the Amos-17 communications satellite launched atop the Falcon 9 rocket, Space.com noted. Formerly called Mr. Steven, GO Ms. Tree, the SpaceX boat, helps protect the fairing from saltwater, which could deteriorate its structure and make it difficult to reuse in the future.
On Aug. 6, the Amos-17 satellite and Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station around 7:23 p.m. EST. The Amos-17 satellite will provide satellite communication services to Africa, according to the mission’s webpage. There wasn’t a third landing for the Falcon 9 rocket, since Amos-17 was a big satellite that needed to reach a very far orbit, resulting in the booster not having enough fuel left over to safely return to our planet.
Last night’s Amos-17 communications satellite launch was a bit unusual compared to most SpaceX launches. No attempt was made to land the …
Last night’s Amos-17 communications satellite launch was a bit unusual compared to most SpaceX launches. No attempt was made to land the rocket’s first stage. But that doesn’t mean SpaceX’s trademark reusability wasn’t felt throughout the launch.
While the first stage didn’t land back on Earth, the company did manage to catch the rocket’s fairing (nose cone) with its speedy ship GO Ms. Tree (formerly known as Mr. Steven, the name change happened after the ship was sold to Guice Offshore).
Elon Musk jumped on Twitter early this morning to share the news.
That’s $6 million worth of hardware slowly floating towards GO Ms. Tree. What we don’t see in frame are the control thrusters also used to help steer the fairing towards the boat. It’s more complicated than strapping a set of parachutes and driving the boat to the right spot. Thrusters, a guidance system, parachutes, and a fast boat all come together to catch the fairing.
Last night’s catch is the second successful retrieval of a Falcon 9 fairing. The first happened back in June. SpaceX engineers will be going over both of them to see how they’ll need to be refurbished to hit the skies again.
Last night’s first stage didn’t land, but it also wasn’t its first trip to space. In fact, it was the third. The first stage did some of the heavy lifting for the Telstar-19 VANTAGE mission in July 2018 and the Es’hail-2 mission in November 2018. Let’s take a look back at those landings.
This Falcon 9’s third launch was also its final because the communications satellite weighed 6.5 tons and needed to be placed in geostationary transfer orbit. Amos also received this launch for free after a static test failure in 2016 destroyed the Amos-6 satellite.
SpaceX accomplished a major reusability milestone for its rockets during the previous day’s Falcon Heavy liftoff. The company’s Ms. Tree boat, caught …
SpaceX accomplished a major reusability milestone for its rockets during the previous day’s Falcon Heavy liftoff. The company’s Ms. Tree boat, caught the rocket’s payload fairing near Florida’s coast during early morning hours of June 25, as per SpaceX reps.
This is the first time such an event has occurred. The boat has come close several times in the past but never succeeded. These payload fairings are used to protect satellites after launch and jettisoned later on. Each fairing cost about $6 million per piece and is used for the Falcon 9 and Heavy rockets, as per Elon Musk. The expensive price tag is behind the recovery efforts of this hardware. SpaceX has steering thrusters and parachutes equipped with both these fairing halves, enabling a soft landing for the gear. Ms. Tree enhances this effort by catching these fairing halves prior to them crash landing into corrosive seawater. This makes reusing these parts much more cost effective and feasible as well.
Ms. Tree was able to catch one half of the fairing before the crash, while the other fell into the ocean, as per John Insprucker of SpaceX. He said that was another major accomplishment for his team. SpaceX does reuse parts of its Falcon Heavy and Falcon 9 rockets for different missions, thus saving on costs. For instance, 2 side boosters of the Falcon Heavy had already flown before. The two 1st stages finished touchdown safely as well, at a SpaceX center at CCAFS near NASA’s KSC.
The rocket’s central booster had attempted a landing on one SpaceX ship located in Atlantic Ocean, which was far off Florida’s coast. However, it missed the target by a small margin. The previous day’s launch was the 3rd flight for Falcon Heavy, which delivered over 24 satellites to multiple orbits in a mere 3 and half hours. This was called SpaceX’s most challenging mission till now and counted as its most complicated rocket launch by Elon Musk.