How SpaceX catches parts of their rockets with the help of a floating ship?

How do you think mankind spends the most money? Probably the most expensive pastime, people today is space exploration. Just imagine — each time when scientists need to bring into orbit an artificial satellite, they pay aerospace companies tens of millions of dollars. But such runs are carried out quite often, but manufacturers of rockets looking for ways to reduce their cost. Company SpaceX, for example, uses certain parts of the rockets, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy again, catching them with a vehicle with a stretched grid.

In 2015, the company learned how to safely return to Earth of the first stage rocket. First, this task was given to her with difficulty, and in the course of numerous attempts, the steps couldn’t exactly sit on a floating ocean platform and exploded. Gain experience, the company is beginning to return to the first stage without errors, and at the moment she’s brought back more than 43 degrees and re-use at least 24 times.

As SpaceX saves money?

Now the company is trying to make reusable no less important part of the rockets the fairings. These cone-shaped part located at the top of the missiles and reduce the air resistance, allowing the missiles to rise quickly in the air. Also, the fairings protect the payload from the high temperatures endured by the booster when it is started.

The half fairing of the Falcon 9 rocket

Fairings are made from carbon fiber and aluminium, and equipped with sophisticated electronics. Because of this, their manufacturing costs SpaceX $ 6 million. When you consider that the cost of the Falcon 9 rocket is approximately $ 60 million, the price of the head fairing is about 10% of this amount. That is, using the upper part of the rocket again, the company can save quite a lot of money.

Reusable rocket SpaceX

In April 2019 SpaceX has successfully returned to Earth the fairing of the carrier rocket Falcon Heavy. He gently fell on net, stretched on a special ship called GO Ms Tree. The length of the vessel is 62 meters and width 10 meters — with all this, its surface area is 3700 square meters. As you can see, the fairings when you drop it is quite difficult to miss, especially because they land with a controllable parachute. By the way, the fairings of the rocket separated into two parts and each of them need to catch separately.

By ship Tree GO Ms really can’t go wrong!

Fairing SpaceX returned to Earth

Apparently, SpaceX employees have already gained experience in downhill fairings. On the night of 7 August, they launched into the sky rocket, the Falcon 9 and put into orbit an Israeli communications satellite AMOS Spacecom-17. The company fulfilled the mission for free, because in 2018, it was unable to launch AMOS-6 from the same company because of the explosion of the rocket. Lost the satellite, incidentally, cost more than $ 200 million.

Spacecom satellite AMOS-17

This time the mission went smoothly and after the withdrawal of a satellite into orbit, the nasal part of the rocket successfully separated from the design and started to fall back to Earth. After passing through the atmosphere and spending some time in free flight, the fairing revealed a controllable parachute and gently fell stretched over the ship network.

Impressive, is it? The success of SpaceX encouraging, especially as very soon it will begin to orbit more satellites. The fact that especially for small operators when it launched the SmallSat Rideshare program, in which customers receive more opportunities than usual. Most importantly, SpaceX is ready to provide the service at a much lower price than the competition.

Fairing Falcon 9 vehicle networks GO Ms Tree