SpaceX is painfully approaching to catch part of its rocket, which falls from the sky after each launch. A new video released by the company on Twitter shows a recent drop test for the nose cone of the rocket, a convex hull that closes the vehicle’s satellite and then comes off during the flight. On the frames of the nose cone about lands on the rescue ship SpaceX, but eventually he falls into the water.
Despite the fact that watching the video is painful, it is assumed that SpaceX will soon be able to successfully restore the nose cone after the upcoming mission. And this can provide some savings for SpaceX. According to the company, this hardware, also known as payload fairing, costs about $ 6 million for each flight. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk sought to preserve these expensive products in order to reuse them – as the company does with its Falcon 9 rockets.
“Imagine that you have 6 million dollars in a palette flying through the air, and it crashes into the ocean,” said Musk. “Would you try to repair it? Yes. Yes, you would.
Over the past year, the company has tried to work out a stupid routine for catching these fairings, which includes a combination of parachutes and boats. After the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket reaches space, the fairings break in half and fall to Earth. Each half is equipped with thrusters and a guidance system that helps control descent to the surface. They also use special parachutes to slow the fall. Then, as they get closer to the ocean, a boat with a giant net – with love named Mr. Stephen – arrives to catch half the fairing. (Presumably, in the future it will take another boat to pick up both parts.)
SpaceX tried this technique after three flights, and none was successful. The company even increased the size of the network to Mr. Stephen, but still no luck. To hone the process, SpaceX conducted drop tests with Mr. Stephen, releasing the fairing from a helicopter, and then tried to catch him on the boat. Another video released by SpaceX on January 7th shows that the fairing only missed a few feet of net. In the last video released yesterday, the fairing portion actually touches the net, but ultimately this is not enough to stay on the boat.
Mr. Stephen, based on the West Coast, will soon go to the East Coast, where he will try to catch the falling fairings of SpaceX missions in Florida. In the coming months, we may see a successful recovery in the Atlantic.