Earlier this year, the private aerospace company, SpaceX, managed the incredible feat of sending astronauts to the International Space Station. But that’s not the only breakthrough the company’s had recently, as it’s also become proficient at catching rocket fairings. And the process of catching the fairings’ falling parts is, incredibly, zen enough to work perfectly with muzak.
Elevator music is underrated— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 19, 2020
In the video, one half of one of SpaceX’s rocket fairings—a fairing is the nose cone that protects a rocket’s payload—touches down on one of the company’s oceanic retrieval ships. SpaceX has rigged two of these “platform supply vessels” with flying trapeze-like nets, which they use to catch the parachuted parts. The ships are able to place themselves accurately thanks to the fairings falling back to Earth in a guided fashion.
SpaceX utilizes these two netted ships—dubbed GO Ms. Tree and GO Ms. Chief—to catch the fairings because the protective shells are expensive and reuse makes them less so. Musk has said previously that a single rocket fairing costs $6 million. Catching the fairings also aids in the company’s mission to achieve full reusability of its rockets.
In the video above, a camera aboard one half of one of the fairings captures the moment the fairing half departs from its payload. To think that the fairing halves descend from this altitude and fall so precisely they can be captured by boat is impressive to say the least. Although in the future we would like to see much longer clips with more of that smooth muzak.
What do you think about this video of SpaceX catching half of a rocket fairing with a boat? Is this the kind of zen moment you live for, or do you prefer the more exciting space-related moments? Gently land some thoughts in the comments!