SpaceX has managed to do something else that seemed audacious and unlikely after some failed attempts: it used a ship in the sea to catch the falling nose and that it protected the cargo aboard its Falcon Heavy rocket during the launch.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., doing business as SpaceX, is a private US aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. It was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars.
The maneuver saw a barge called SpaceX called Ms. Tree
With a giant net hanging through four large protruding beams that sailed to a point off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean to await the return of the SpaceX fairing once it was separated from the rocket. Falcon Heavy was launched last night from the Kennedy Space Center for its STP-2 mission.
Ms. Tree (including Mr. Steven) had made a long trip to capture, moving from the west coast eastward through the Panama Canal earlier this year to make some attempts to capture SpaceX rockets launched from Florida, after starting his career serving the launches that take place from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The ship was put into service during a SpaceX launch from Vandenberg for the first time in February 2017, but the fairing was lost from the net and the ship, and the same happens with three subsequent attempts in 2018, during which SpaceX also covered boat. With larger networks to give you a better chance of success.
The big problem for SpaceX is it makes the reuse of the fairings much more feasible.
The executive director, Elon Musk, said that the company is basically throwing away $ 6 million each time it loses one of these fairings on a hard landing in the ocean, so SpaceX has been working on a way to recover the pieces, just like that recovers the impellers through a controlled descent. .
The nose parts (each launch has two, one fairing for each half of the payload capsule) have been able to control their descent with small thrusters and a parachute that SpaceX can handle to some extent from the ground from the SES mission -10 2017 of the company, but until now they have fallen into the ocean, which makes recovery more challenging and difficult to restore.
The AF SMC tweeted “The 3700 kg Integrated Payload Stack (IPS) for #STP2 has been completed! Have a look before it blasts off on the first #DoD Falcon Heavy launch! #SMC #SpaceStartsHere”
During this launch, Ms. Tree caught half the fairing as planned, and the other half landed in the nearby water. The big test now will be to examine the returned cowling to determine if it is suitable for reconditioning and new flight, which could greatly help further cut the costs of launching SpaceX.