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.
Both fairing halves caught from space by @SpaceX ships!— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 20, 2020
Recent fairing recovery test with Mr. Steven. So close! pic.twitter.com/DFSCfBnM0Y— SpaceX (@SpaceX) January 8, 2019
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.
Rocket fairing falls from space & is caught by Ms Tree boat pic.twitter.com/nJv0Ry1iKk— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2019
Falcon 9’s first stage has landed on the Just Read the Instructions droneship pic.twitter.com/fPbckYFySh— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 20, 2020