New information on SpaceX’s rocket fairing recovery effort

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Link here. In requesting permission to recover Dragon capsules in the Gulf of Mexico, SpaceX submitted a great deal of information to the FAA about its effort to recover and reuse the fairings of its Falcon 9 rocket. Doug Messier of Parabolic Arc has done a nice job of excerpting that information at the link.

For example, SpaceX is not only trying to recover the fairings, it is trying to recover the new fairing drogue chutes that it uses to slow the fairings down and then ejects before splashdown.

To me, however, one tidbit that stood out like a beacon and actually tells us more about SpaceX’s future anticipated launch rate was this quote:

From 2019-2024, SpaceX anticipates the frequency of launches involving fairing recovery to increase. In 2018, SpaceX anticipates approximately two recovery attempts, and from 2019-2024, SpaceX anticipates approximately three recovery attempts per month. Thus, for all seven years, SpaceX anticipates up to 480 drogue parachutes and 480 parafoils would land in the ocean.

This is further confirmation of SpaceX’s public prediction that it will soon be launching about 30 to 40 times per year. These numbers also equal the best yearly rates the entire United States launch industry ever achieved, and suggest that the entire launch industry in the next decade will be experiencing a significant boom, since aggressive competition usually causes an increase in business for all competitors.



  • pzatchok

    Why not just track and soft land them in the water?

    It wouldn’t take much to replace the electronics and rinse it off with fresh water.

    Even if they have to put it back into an oven to drive out any leftover water that would be cheap compared to a new one.

  • Edward

    pzatchok wrote: “It wouldn’t take much to replace the electronics and rinse it off with fresh water.

    The electronics can be expensive Rinsing the salt and drying the water is not the problem; the corrosive nature of the salty water is the problem. It is bad enough that these rocket parts spend a lot of time near the salty water, what with the spray that comes off the breaking waves, even hundreds of meters away.

    Back when I was designing and building instruments for spacecraft, we went to a lot of trouble to make sure there were coatings that helped protect from any exposure that the instrument might meet, even during construction of the instrument and spacecraft. A little corrosion early in the lift of the instrument could turn into a horrible problem during the mission.

    Ships that sail the oceans also go to a lot of trouble to protect from the corrosive nature of the water. It would be best not to land the fairings — or even the Dragons and Starliners — in the ocean.

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