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  SpaceX Falcon 9 fairing recovery attempts

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Author Topic:   SpaceX Falcon 9 fairing recovery attempts
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 39715
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-22-2018 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX on Thursday (Feb. 22) launched Hisdesat's PAZ satellite on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East (SLC-4E) at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission also carried two SpaceX test Starlink satellites, called Tintin A and B, for global broadband.

The three satellites were protected during ascent by SpaceX's first Fairing 2.0, designed for recovery. From Elon Musk on Twitter:

Going to try to catch the giant fairing (nosecone) of Falcon 9 as it falls back from space at about eight times the speed of sound. It has onboard thrusters and a guidance system to bring it through the atmosphere intact, then releases a parafoil and our ship, named Mr. Steven, with basically a giant catcher's mitt welded on, tries to catch it.

The fairing halves successfully made it back from space and, for this first attempt, one side deployed its parafoil. But ultimately, it missed Mr. Steven. From Musk:

Missed by a few hundred meters, but fairing landed intact in water. Should be able catch it with slightly bigger chutes to slow down descent.
As shared by Musk on Instagram:
Falcon fairing half as seen from our catcher's mitt in boat form, Mr. Steven. No apparent damage from reentry and splashdown.

p51
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Posts: 1547
From: Olympia, WA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 02-22-2018 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Martitime salvage laws being what they are, I wonder if someone like any of us with a boat happened upon this before Musks's boat did, could we have called it salvage and towed it away?

I know that NASA lays claim to everything of theirs for all eternity, but SpaceX is a private company and I doubt would get the same legal protections.

damnyankee36
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Posts: 26
From: Alamogordo, NM USA
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 02-22-2018 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damnyankee36   Click Here to Email damnyankee36     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why the necessity to catch the fairings before they hit the water? Water damage? Damage from hitting the water? According to this article, they have recovered the fairings once before. It didn't say if they reused them however.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39715
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-22-2018 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Salt water is highly corrosive. The ideal is to recover hardware before it touches the water to reduce the work needed to refurbish it for reuse.

SpaceX has recovered partial and (reportedly) complete fairing halves before, but has not reused any to date.

quote:
Originally posted by p51:
...I doubt would get the same legal protections.
The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and its provisions concerning the ownership of space hardware, applies to all vehicles launched from a party nation, regardless if the launches are government or commercially-sponsored.

SpaceX hardware remains the property of SpaceX until it explicitly releases it. This has already been put to practice after parts of SpaceX rockets have washed up on domestic and foreign shores.

GACspaceguy
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Posts: 2309
From: Guyton, GA
Registered: Jan 2006

posted 02-22-2018 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As well as the corrosion issue I believe the assembly is carbon fiber and honeycomb core laminate. Impact loads not good for that construction. Would mean more inspections and possible rework. A net catch would reduce both.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 39715
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-30-2018 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX made its second attempt at recovering a fairing halve during this morning's (March 30) Falcon 9 launch of the Iridium-5 payload from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Elon Musk reported the results on Twitter:

GPS guided parafoil twisted, so fairing impacted water at high speed. Air wake from fairing messing with parafoil steering. Doing helo drop tests in next few weeks to solve.
Update: Musk later shared this photo, showing that the fairing survived:
Oh yeah, forgot to mention it actually landed fine, just not on Mr Steven.

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 39715
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-02-2018 08:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Elon Musk today shared a photo of a fairing descending to Earth:
Falcon 9 fairing opens its parafoil after reentering the atmosphere.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39715
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-23-2018 09:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX made its third attempt at recovering a fairing halve during Tuesday's (May 22) Falcon 9 launch of the Iridium-6 and GRACE-FO payload from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Per John Insprucker, Falcon 9 lead engineer, via Spaceflight Now:

The payload fairings both successfully deployed parachutes, but they landed in the Pacific Ocean. The fairing recovery ship "Mr. Steven" came very close but not quite. We're going to keep working on that...

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39715
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-31-2018 04:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From SpaceX on Twitter:
Falcon 9 fairing halves deployed their parafoils and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean last week after the launch of Iridium-6/GRACE-FO. Closest half was about 50m from SpaceX's recovery ship, Mr. Steven.

Headshot
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Posts: 730
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 06-01-2018 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Are these recovered fairings going to be re-used?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39715
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-01-2018 05:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX has not said it has any plans to reuse the fairings it has returned to shore. Right now, the focus seems to be on catching the fairings with Mr. Steven before they hit the water.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39715
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-05-2018 05:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In response to a question on Twitter, Elon Musk has said that the nets on Mr. Steven will be enlarged.
We are extending the net area by a factor of 4.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 39715
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 07-14-2018 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From SpaceX on Twitter:
Mr. Steven—now with more net. SpaceX’s fairing recovery vessel has been fitted with a 4x larger net ahead of its next recovery attempt targeted for later this month.

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