Mr. Steven is a hard trier, but it’s not quite ready to play for the Yankees yet.
SpaceX is all about recycling used rocket parts. It already re-launches parts of flown Falcon 9s, but Elon Musk’s company also wants to reuse fairings, the protective nose cones that shield payloads as they’re hurtled into space. This is a job for a modified supply ship named Mr. Steven, which acts like a giant catcher’s mitt.
SpaceX posted a video this week showing Mr. Steven’s latest attempt to snag a fairing half in a huge net. A helicopter dropped the fairing, which floated down by parachute toward the ocean. The ship made a run to try to snag it.
The ship just missed and the fairing fell into the water. “Recent fairing recovery test with Mr. Steven. So close!” SpaceX tweeted.
Mr. Steven, but also missed that one. This latest test was tantalizingly close to success.
While catching fairings would spare them from contacting ocean water, a brief dunking doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be reused.
Musk tweeted in December after, saying, “Falcon fairing halves missed the net, but touched down softly in the water. Mr Steven is picking them up. Plan is to dry them out & launch again. Nothing wrong with a little swim.”