SpaceX recovers fairing of upper stage of Falcon 9

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The competition heats up: Even as SpaceX made history yesterday in its successful use and recovery of a used first stage, it also recovered for the first time the fairing that protected the satellite.

For the first time, SpaceX also recovered the payload fairing, the conical shaped structure on top of the rocket that surrounds and protects the spacecraft during launch. The fairing separates from the spacecraft in two sections during the launch sequence — in this case, 3 minutes and 49 seconds after launch — and usually falls into the ocean and breaks into pieces. SpaceX outfitted these two fairing sections with parachutes so they could be recovered, which apparently will become standard practice.

Musk also indicated that they are now going to begin an effort to recover the second stage. “What’s the worst that could happen? It blows up? It would anyway.”



  • Tom Billings

    A huge day indeed! Many things are shaking, given the contrast between this triumph and the same day announcement of the corruption/technical problems with engines for Proton, built in the same plant as upper stage engines for the Soyuz launcher that sends our astronauts to ISS. The contrast between monopolies and market-driven companies could not be greater. Whether our would-be congressional patrons of US space monopolies will allow themselves to acknowledge the contrast is yet to be seen.

  • C Cecil

    Watching PBS 3/31/2017, Judy Woodruff was telling the good news about the Space X launch yesterday of a rocket that has been in orbit twice. I guess they don’t understand the basic function and history of this reused falcon nine first stage. If PBS puts out false news like this, what else are we to decipher?

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