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SpaceX's catcher boat tests high-speed maneuvers [Video]

by Justin King

The fairing-catching ship, Mr Steven, is apparently capable of making quick turns in reverse.

SpaceX's fairing-catching ship, Mr Steven, has been captured on video performing high-speed sea trials after its net was quadrupled in size.

The crew was presumably validating performance and safety with the higher center of gravity and heavier weight of the massive new net.

Video shot by YouTube poster Drone Dronester shows the 200-foot-long fast supply vessel performing a tight turn at speed in reverse, mimicking a maneuver that might be necessary to quickly reposition the ship as the Falcon 9's fairings drop to the ocean.

As SpaceX attempts to further reduce launch costs, the company must find ways to recover the $3 million fairings. Eventually, the plan might include recovery of the second rocket stage that lofts cargo into its final orbit.

Mr Steven is expected to make its next attempt at fairing recovery following a July 25 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The ship has not yet made a successful recovery.