The US space exploration technology company SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, Florida, and then used the Atlantic Of its drones recovered their boosters, but the fairing recovery failed.
The mission of the Falcon 9 rocket is to send a dual-use communication satellite named JCSAT-18 / Kacific1 into the geostationary orbit. Among them, the JCSAT-18 part is intended to provide Japan’s Sky Perfect JSAT with communication coverage in the Asia-Pacific region, and the Kacific1 part will provide communication coverage in areas where Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands do not have much Internet access.
The latest mission rocket has previously entered space twice, launching supplies to the International Space Station in May and July, respectively. This is the third successful launch and recovery of the rocket. SpaceX has reused up to four recovered rockets so far, but the company claims that its latest version of the Falcon 9 rocket can fly up to 10 times without requiring much refurbishment between launches.
In this launch, SpaceX first attempted to recover as many parts as possible after launch and capture them before they landed in the ocean. Previously, SpaceX has made great progress in recycling boosters, but it has not always been satisfactory in recycling fairings.
Although SpaceX used two recovery vessels this time, they failed to recover the fairing divided into two. The company said it will try to salvage fairing parts from the water and use them for future launches.
The fairing is a spherical structure located on top of the rocket and is used to protect the satellite payload during ascent to space. When the rocket passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, the fairing splits into two parts and then falls back to Earth. Normally, the fairing is a consumable part, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wants to recycle it.
To reclaim this expensive hardware, SpaceX bought a ship to retrofit it with a giant catch net to capture it when the fairing returned to Earth. At the same time, SpaceX equips each half-face fairing with a micro-thruster and navigation system to help them navigate the Earth’s atmosphere. They also have parachutes to slow down the descent.
If the timing is right, the recovery boat can even wait under the lowering fairing to catch it before it falls into the sea. In recent launches, SpaceX has typically been able to recover half-face fairings. This is mainly because the company has only one recovery ship with a giant net.