SpaceX is the space company that has made it obvious that it wants to recover and reuse as much of its launch system as is possible. The amazing rocket landings over the years have been perfected and have demonstrated that the SpaceX’s vision is becoming a reality with each passing moment.
While the rocket landings are an impressive feat and make for an amazing view, there are parts of this strategy that are crucial but not so impressive for the camera. One such act is the catching of pieces of the rocket as they make their way back to the Earth. The company has managed to pull this particular feat off for the first time after the Falcon Heavy launch of yesterday.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Falcon heavy rockets protect the payloads during their launch using a rounded nosecone. Once the nosecone is done carrying out its shielding tasks, it splits into two and then begins its descent back to Earth. SpaceX has a strong reason for collecting the nosecones since they cost around $6 million each. This amount is a sizeable chunk of the launches; Falcon 9 rocket and the Falcon Heavy. The launch cost of Falcon 9 rocket was $62 million, and the launch cost of the Falcon Heavy was $90 million.
The strategy employed by SpaceX was to retrieve and reuse these nosecones was making use of parafoils to slow them down as they made their way towards the ocean. Once the nosecones were slowed down, the company made use of a huge net that had been strung up over a boat that was formerly called Mr Steven.
Mr Steven is now named as Ms Tree, and the boat was able to pull in its first catch yesterday. Once the Falcon Heavy had fired 24 satellites into the orbit and two out of its three cores had made the touchdown at Cape Canaveral safely, one half of the payload made its way into the net-equipped boat. According to Elon Musk on Twitter, ‘Ms. Tree caught the Falcon fairing!!’