SpaceX's Steven loses capture of Falcon 9 fairing in last video


Shortly after the ship left for the East Coast, SpaceX shared a video of one of the recent catch tests controlled by the ship Steven, in which he came so close to a successful recovery that his network actually tapped the nose of the fairing before he fell and fell into the ocean.

While dying to see a bald woman literally slip through Steven's figurative fingers, this video is mostly good news. Given how extraordinarily close Mr. Steven was to success, SpaceX engineers will almost certainly continue to refine their fairing recovery technique and technology until successful catches can be reliably repeated.

Over the past four months, SpaceX has been involved in a Falcon sighting and drop-control controlled test program about 100 miles off the coast of California. Prior to today's video, an additional update was released a few weeks ago, showing a separate capture test that ended in a similar but slightly larger flaw. The test shown in the new video probably occurred a few weeks ago, the second to the last controlled experiment before Steven left for Florida on the 28th. In fact, Teslarati photographer Pauline Acalin has captured what is almost certainly half the fairing shown in the January 29 video of SpaceX, visibly cracking after it hit the nose of the ocean.

Strangely, this last flaw may have been caused by Mr. Steven going very fastwhile all previous failures seem to have been more a consequence of being in the wrong place at the wrong time or unable to become strong or fast enough to intercept half of the fairing. As the fairing visibly touched the net before returning to the ocean, the center of gravity of the half must have been foot – if no inches – far from allowing him to lean in the opposite direction and glide gently into Mr. Steven's network. If the ship had been reduced somewhat, the history of this test may have been completely different. However, the gap between failure and success is clearly less than before, which means that it is possible to guarantee that SpaceX will eventually close this gap in the recovery of the fairing.

Soon, with SpaceX's recovery fleet on the east coast of Florida, Steven is expected to see a considerable increase in the number of salvage attempts, with at least three new catch opportunities after launch in the next two to three months. . The SpaceX salvage craft left the port of San Pedro on the night of January 28 and will probably cross the Panama Canal within a week and reach Port Canaveral about a week later. SpaceX's next launch on the East Coast is scheduled for no earlier than February 18, giving Steven enough time to change coastlines and try a recovery.

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