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Video of SpaceX fairing drop test

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today released footage of a drop test of a fairing and the near miss catch by their ship Mr. Steven.

I have embedded the footage below the fold. After they drop the fairing from a helicopter, the ship comes within mere feet of catching the fairing in its giant net. Quite spectacular.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Col Beausabre

    Bob – “ship comes within mere feet of catching the fairing in its giant net”

    Doesn’t matter if it misses by feet or the width of the Pacific Ocean, it’s still a failure. You either catch it or you don’t – and they don’t. You wouldn’t call an airliner “almost” making the runway, “successful” (and I know, “Any landing you can walk away from is successful”). Matter of fact, there would be an FAA investigation and lawsuits.

    To my mind, the parasail needs active control. Maybe it homes in on a radio beacon in the center of the net. It can’t hurt that both vehicles are trying to reach the same spot at the same time

  • Col Beausabre: Your comparison to an airliner is inappropriate. That is operational. This was an engineering drop test, where failure is often expected but useful in figuring out how to eventually make this system operational.

    I personally have doubts about this system for recovering the fairing, but I am certainly not an expert. I admire the daring engineering, which seems to be getting them closer and closer to success.

  • ted high

    Back in the fiftys and the sixtys when spy sats had cameras that ejected they caught the camera in the air. They had a special plane with poles on the front that acted like a funnel and when they caught the parachute they winched the camera onboard. With the speed of the faring, in the film, they could snare the chute by hovering and lowering a hook and then either lower it to the ground or hook it to a winch and pull it aboard or keep it close for landing.

  • Judy

    “Missed it by that much!”

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