Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.
Register

Fairing Recovery and Reuse

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,342
14,008
West Vancouver, British Columbia
This information is based on posts in the SpaceX Facebook group:

See these photos Space X mystery craft of a boat that is reportedly owned by SpaceX. One of the photos is shown below. This appears to be the boat Mr. Steven

This document describes how SpaceX expanded their presence in the Port of LA for a boat of that approximate size https://www.portoflosangeles.org/Board/2017/December 2017/121417_Regular_Agenda_Item_8.pdf

That boat could possibly be used for fairing recovery. It is speculated that the two fairing halves will be fitted with small thrusters and computer controlled parasails that could use GPS data transmitted from the boat to guide the fairing to a landing on the boat, perhaps in a huge net strung between the four support arms.

Which would be very cool. Might sound crazy to some, but I wouldn’t rule out such a purpose for this boat. We know that SpaceX has made some initial steps towards recovering fairings. See SpaceX even landed the nose cone from its historic used Falcon 9 rocket launch and also Extra portion of SpaceX rocket recovered from launch, Musk says Quote: ”It’s its own little spacecraft,” Musk said. “The thrusters maintain its orientation as it re-enters and then ... the parachute steers it to a particular location.”

We also know that Elon has stated that the F9 fairing costs “several million dollars”. So worth trying to recover and reuse. See SpaceX's reusable Falcon 9: What are the real cost savings for customers? - SpaceNews.com

Photo credit: imgur user “vhsie”.

FD2C7E2F-5E68-46AA-B75E-5FFE359572D8.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
5,965
7,484
Santa Fe, New Mexico
I can't wait to see a video of a recovery. With this, I suppose the issue could be that the two halves strike each other in the net. If it works really well and that is an issue then they could always go to two ships. This looks much more simple than the bouncy castle idea. I picture something like the nets to capture falling trapeze artists.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NeverFollow

RDoc

S85D
Aug 24, 2012
2,753
1,611
Boston North Shore
If SpaceX can pull that off they could make money on spectators!

WRT capturing both halves: perhaps what we're seeing is really just the support structure for the bouncy castle mat which would be much larger and could accommodate both halves? o_O
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,342
14,008
West Vancouver, British Columbia
I think it almost certain that the support arms on that boat are for a giant net or stretchable fabric surface for the fairing halves to land on as they are steered to that location by parasails and thrusters.

At approximately $3 million each, those fairing halves are worth recovering. But I expect several failed attempts before SpaceX gets it right. That’s okay, we SpaceX geeks are used to that. ;)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grendal and MP3Mike

mongo

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2017
13,284
40,601
Michigan
I can't wait to see a video of a recovery. With this, I suppose the issue could be that the two halves strike each other in the net. If it works really well and that is an issue then they could always go to two ships.

Any further thoughts on two in one net?
Maybe each half has a different control system and whichever makes it to the ship is the new standard? (Thunderdome)
Dual nets with delayed landing?

Another option could be in space recombination, that would be much easier if they could stay joined during separation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grendal

Grendal

SpaceX Moderator
Jan 31, 2012
5,965
7,484
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Any further thoughts on two in one net?
Maybe each half has a different control system and whichever makes it to the ship is the new standard? (Thunderdome)
Dual nets with delayed landing?

Another option could be in space recombination, that would be much easier if they could stay joined during separation.

All I know for sure is that SpaceX will make a big attempt at fairing recovery with the launch tomorrow. Hopefully it goes well. The issue, according to Elon, is that the fairing is essentially a flying wing. You put that wing under the parasail parachutes and the wing interferes with the aerodynamics. So SpaceX has to come up with some unique method for pulling this off. It will be interesting to see what they came up with.
 

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

Well-Known Member
Jul 12, 2012
10,764
7,974
Maine
I can't wait to see a video of a recovery. With this, I suppose the issue could be that the two halves strike each other in the net. If it works really well and that is an issue then they could always go to two ships. This looks much more simple than the bouncy castle idea. I picture something like the nets to capture falling trapeze artists.

Rather than two ships, how about a giant robot that picks up the first half, waits until the 2nd half lands, and then carefully places the first half on top of the other half?

Or maybe two ships.

EDIT:
On the other hand, these fairings have to be fairly tough and flexible, what with the traveling-the-through-air-at-high-speed. Maybe they figure that as long as they keep the speed down, the first half can take it.
 

mongo

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2017
13,284
40,601
Michigan
Rather than two ships, how about a giant robot that picks up the first half, waits until the 2nd half lands, and then carefully places the first half on top of the other half?

Or maybe two ships.

EDIT:
On the other hand, these fairings have to be fairly tough and flexible, what with the traveling-the-through-air-at-high-speed. Maybe they figure that as long as they keep the speed down, the first half can take it.

Are you thinking reassembly? The shape and thickness do not lend themselves to stacking. Placing one half open side down on the deck would free the net for catch # 2.

(regarding your signature, FOB does stand for Free on Board, a term used to describe who pays shipping)

Edit: Removed Freight as an alternate to Free..
 
Last edited:

RDoc

S85D
Aug 24, 2012
2,753
1,611
Boston North Shore
Is it really so terrible to have the fairing halves touch salt water? There are lots of carbon fiber boats that touch salt water and actually go out the next day and do it again!

One thing about letting the fairing halves land in the ocean is that it's a much larger target than Mr Steven.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Grendal

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
2,955
4,533
Bay Area
Is it really so terrible to have the fairing halves touch salt water? There are lots of carbon fiber boats that touch salt water and actually go out the next day and do it again!

Except those boats are well protected from the elements. "Carbon Fiber" can mean a zillion things when you consider fiber type and resin type.

As mentioned by other people, there's also electronics that [presumably] aren't designed to be submerged in salt water...at least not yet.
 

AudubonB

One can NOT induce accuracy with precision!
Mar 24, 2013
8,289
29,130
I'm fascinated with how fairing-in-water managed to become fairing-atop-Mr.Steven. Skyhook? A second ship with a crane?
 

Electroman

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Aug 18, 2012
6,341
6,640
TX
I think you are misunderstanding.. My question is: was recovery attempted only for one booster, or attempted for two and one just got away?
 

mongo

Well-Known Member
May 3, 2017
13,284
40,601
Michigan
Does the core booster was recovered too?

This was an F9, only one first stage, it was an older version and expended.

I think you are misunderstanding.. My question is: was recovery attempted only for one booster fairing, or attempted for two and one just got away?
FTFY,
I haven't seen anything to say either way. My guess is that they were only going to be able to catch one, so they aimed for the closest. Second is likely lost at sea or sunk. Or they only gave one a parachute.
 

Products we're discussing on TMC...

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


SUPPORT TMC
Top