Elon Musk’s SpaceX catches Falcon 9’s rocket head for the third time in a row — with a giant net out in the middle of the Atlantic ocean

Elon Musk’s SpaceX catches Falcon 9’s rocket head for the third time in a row — with a giant net out in the middle of the Atlantic ocean
SpaceX catches Falcon 9's fairing out in the middle of the Atlantic oceanTwitter/@elonmusk

  • Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX successfully caught Falcon 9’s rocket head as it fell back to Earth for the third time in a row, marking a new record for the company.
  • Recovering the rocket’s nose — or fairing — for reuse can cut down on costs for launching rockets and putting satellites into space.
  • In order to catch the two halves of the rocket nose, Space X has two boats out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that wait with nets outstretched.
Elon Musk and his space company SpaceX make catching a rocket head with a giant net, in the middle of the ocean, as it flies back to Earth look easy. Not only has SpaceX done so successfully once, but thrice in less than 30 days marking a milestone for the company.


Musk’s brainchild has been lauded for its initiative to build reusable rockets in an attempt to make access to space more affordable for everyone. Falcon 9, the biggest rocket in its inventory, launched from Cape Canaveral in the US on August 18 for the 40th time.

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It was a record sixth-time that the company was using the same booster on the Falcon 9. The booster accounts for 60% of the rocket’s overall price tag helping it severely cut down on launch costs.

While SpaceX seems to be confident about its abilities to recover boosters, recovering payload fairings — the rocket’s nose cone which splits into two as it falls back to Earth — is another story. Recovering and reusing them can further reduce costs for the company as its rocket launches become more frequent.


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How to catch a Falcon 9 fairing
Not much is known about what goes on behind the scenes, aside from the fact that each half of the rocket’s fairing is equipped with its parachute and guidance software. Back on Earth SpaceX’s two boats — GO Ms. Tree and GO Ms. Chief — wait with outstretched nets as the pieces return.

At times, weather conditions and visibility can lead the best of plans astray. After failing more than a dozen times, SpaceX only caught its first fairing in June 2019. It took another year for it to simultaneously catch both halves in the same drop on July 21.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX catches Falcon 9’s rocket head for the third time in a row — with a giant net out in the middle of the Atlantic ocean
Two fairing catches, one launchSpaceX

In today’s catch, however, Ms. Tree was only able to net one fairing.
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Even if the fairings land in the water, SpaceX can scoop them up and take them back to shore to be prepped for reuse. According to the founder of one of the biggest unicorns in India, Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Musk has changed the ‘space industry forever’.


The next launch scheduled for August 27 will tell if SpaceX and Musk can keep up their winning streak.
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SEE ALSO:
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Hubble Space Telescope images explain why Betelgeuse was fading and how the monster star is not going to explode — just yet

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