On August 6, Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon-9 rocket from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The space exploration firm later managed to catch the rocket’s nose on a net attached to a boat named Ms Tree.
The rocket nose, called the fairing, is used to shield the spacecraft and make it more resistant to friction during take off. However, after it leaves the atmosphere the conical fairing splits in half and falls to Earth. With each fairing costing around $6 million, SpaceX has been planning to catch and reuse fairings.
Earlier attempts, including test-runs where SpaceX dropped fairings from helicopters, had not yielded the expected results. Musk’s video from last night captured the first successful catch.
Excited fans reacted with a mixture of awe and commendation.
Some even had follow up questions.
The Falcon 9 rocket, on its third flight, is carrying the AMOS-17 satellite for Israeli Communications Satellite Operator Spacecom. “The 6.5-ton, high-power HTS satellite,” reported the Jerusalem Post, “will provide extensive C-band HTS, Ka-band and Ku-band capabilities to meet Africa’s fast-growing television and internet demands. It will offer increased connectivity between Africa, the Middle East, India, China and as far west as Brazil.”