SpaceX continues to impress with hardware reuse, this time showcasing the harsh environment in which Falcon 9 & Falcon Heavy fairings endure to be returned and used for another mission.
SpaceX has shared great re-entry footage from one of the two alarms that flew on its latest Falcon Heavy flight. This is the first time fairings have been used previously in Falcon Heavy flight. Shortly after the second stage separated and began burning to bring the payloads into geostationary orbit, the fairing halves deployed, exposing the three spacecraft into space.
After propagating from the second stage, the two streamlining halves drifted to their apogee (highest point) before beginning their journey again through Earth’s atmosphere. This is the most ambitious recovery attempt yet, with explosions speeding through the atmosphere at 15 times the speed of sound, according to SpaceX. After their harrowing journey through the atmosphere, the Fairings deploy a parachute and land gently in the Atlantic Ocean. Hopefully, at some point in the future, SpaceX will share a video from the recovery boat that shows the fairing halves glowing in the atmosphere and creating this beautiful plasma trail.
Centered more than 1,200 miles from Florida, its furthest voyage to date, the rescue ship Doug, named after Demo-2 crew member Doug Hurley, was ready and waiting to retrieve the cruise ship from the ocean. We don’t know yet if half or both of the fairing were recovered, but when the recovery ship returns to Port Canaveral, we’ll get our first glimpse of the fairings who made the best representation of shooting stars as they flew through the atmosphere.
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