SpaceX pulls off its first double fairing catch after a Falcon 9 launch

Reliably catching and reusing the parts could save millions of dollars.

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Richard Lawler
July 20, 2020 8:56 PM
SpaceX fairing catch test (January 2019)
SpaceX fairing catch test (January 2019) SpaceX (Twitter)

Part of the SpaceX mission has been to create reusable rockets that make spaceflight cheaper, and it has become routine to see the company’s booster rockets return safely to Earth. With today’s launch SpaceX set a new milestone by catching both halves of the nosecone fairing, according to a tweet from CEO Elon Musk.

He’s previously said the parts are worth about $6 million, and while the company has reused some after they landed in the sea or a ship caught one half, it’s potentially cheaper to get them back undamaged if both fall into a net.

We don’t have video of the fairing recovery itself yet (the picture above is from a test), but you can see the successful catch of one half after a launch last year, as well as video of the Falcon 9’s first stage making its safe landing on a drone ship.

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