SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 two-stage space rocket to orbit on Tuesday, providing a complimentary tour for the AMOS-17 communications satellite. It was the third flight for the rocket Falcon 9 booster and to get the satellite to orbit SpaceX needed to cast off the booster, so we do not get to see SpaceX pull off one other dazzling booster return. However, we have received the next best thing: A drone capturing the rocket’s fairing.
Elon Musk, the SpaceX CEO, posted a video of the daring fairing capture to social media on Tuesday.
The fairing is part of the protecting cowl on the top of the Falcon 9, which shields payloads as they’re lifted into orbit. As soon as the rocket punches out of the atmosphere and into space, the fairing breaks in half and falls again to Earth. A drone ship, assigned within the Atlantic Ocean, then attempts to catch the fairing with a giant net.
We’ve seen SpaceX capture a fairing on its most recent launch and earlier than that we’ve seen it fail a few times. It seems to apply makes excellent, and it is lastly getting the hang of capturing the nosecone like a ship-sized Mark Waugh stationed in the slips (that is one for our Aussie readers).
A New Zealand-based spaceflight Industry, Rocket Lab, introduced Tuesday it would also start trying to reuse rockets. It won’t be capturing any fairings; however, it will work and snag the first stage booster from the sky with a helicopter.