SpaceX Catches Both Fairing Halves of Falcon 9 Launch for the First Time
Fairing plays a huge role in rocket launches. Acting as a two-piece protective layer, SpaceX has designed two fairing halves with special netting to catch them when they fall. Without any programming beforehand, fairing halves use a parachute to slow them down. Ships must be positioned correctly to catch these.
SpaceX finally managed to catch both fairing halves of a Falcon 9 rocket launch today. CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk made an exciting announcement on Twitter:
Both fairing halves caught from space by @SpaceX ships!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2020
For all previous launches, recovery attempts for catching both fairing halves remained unsuccessful. Only a single half was retrieved back in June 2019, and once more in January 2020.
In addition to re-using old components, managing to catch both fairing halves can save up to $6 million. As reported by Techcrunch, Elon Musk also has plans to “capture Crew Dragon capsules as they return to Earth”. This would prove to be a safe option once the fairing system is perfected.