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SpaceX ship gets even bigger net to catch Falcon fairings

SpaceX ship gets even bigger net to catch Falcon fairings

by Justin King

Mr Steven has received a quadruple-size net after early attempts failed to snag the valuable composite shells out of the air.

SpaceX has modified its Falcon fairing-catching ship, Mr Steven, to deploy an even bigger net after early tests ended in failure.

The quadruple-size net is expected to increase the chances of softly recovering the multimillion-dollar carbon-fiber shells that protect payloads during the first stage out of the atmosphere.

After succeeding in landing the Falcon rockets vertically on drone ships or landing pads, the company has shifted its focus to recovering the fairings for quick reuse in future missions.

"Catching rocket fairings falling from space has proven tricky, so we made the net really big," SpaceX chief Elon Musk wrote on Twitter. "Well … it looked smaller on paper."

The company is also brainstorming ways to recover the second rocket stage that carries the payload into orbit. Musk says he "can't wait to try" but has been distracted the past few months by challenges at Tesla.

SpaceX completes vast Mr Steven arm upgrades for quadruple-sized net https://t.co/nSjluWDtb9 via @13ericralph31 @w00ki33

— TESLARATI (@Teslarati) July 11, 2018