Great catch as the Captain turns at the last second and saves the day. SpaceX has managed a first by catching both halves of the fairing used on one of its Falcon 9 rocket launches, say’s Elon Musk founder and CEO. The fairing is a two-piece protective cover that surrounds the cargo on the launch vehicle as it ascends through Earth’s atmosphere on its way to space. SpaceX has been attempting to recover the fairing using two ships equipped with special nets designed to catch them as they fall, but this is the first time that the company has managed to actually catch both, rather than just one.
SpaceX attempts to reduce the cost of its launches by building In as much reusability as it can, which is why it has engineered a way to propulsively land its first stage rocket boosters back on Earth for refurbishment post launch. That part has been refined and is now fairly reliable, with SpaceX having landed a total of 57 of its spent first stages so far, including the one from today’s launch.