SpaceX was never shy about his mistakes. It's famous for making fun of its near misses and setbacks over the years, and it's usually very transparent when things get scarce. In recent months, his inability to successfully catch and restore his missile's bowtail fairings has been a thorn in the flesh, but Falcon Heavy's launch last night changed that.
SpaceX's net-covered bark succeeded Ms. Tree (formerly Mr. Steven) in catching one of the two Falcon Heavy panels as they crashed out of space. Now SpaceX needs to find out if all this work will pay off in significant cost savings for future missions.
When a rocket transports a spaceship into orbit and this spacecraft triggers its payload (at the launch last night, the payload was impressive 24) satellites) the nose cone covering the payload bay splits in half. Each half of the nose cone is called a disguise and is not exactly cheap.
Usually, these parts simply fall to the earth and splash into the ocean where they are recovered. However, salty seawater can damage the delicate parts of the fairing. Therefore, SpaceX has been looking for months for ways to catch the panels before they hit the water.
Early attempts failed completely Due to the expansion of the net on the cargo ship and the addition of slides on the panels to slow down the descent, the company simply could not catch them. Last night, the drone ship was finally in the right place at the right time, catching one of the two disguises before they reached the ocean.
It's a big deal for SpaceX, but the work is only half complete. Once the fairing is restored, the company must ensure that it is easily reusable and that, with every refurbishment required, the final price is lower than that of a brand new fairing. If SpaceX can save a lot of money by regularly catching its nose cone components, it could further lower the price of rocket launches and bring the leader in commercial space flight even further ahead of the competition.