Released on Wednesday this week, new videos and images on Twitter show Elon Musk's SpaceX fairing of the company's Falcon Heavy rocket taking a dramatic plunge back into the stratosphere.
The fairing was launched into the stratosphere on June 25, 2019. Both videos were tweeted, one by Elon Musk, and one by SpaceX.
A little bit of information on STP-2 and the fairing
The fairing is a composite aerodynamic shell protecting satellites when they are propelled into space. Once in the stratosphere, rockets rid themselves of these outer shells, the fairings, which ultimately fall back down to Earth.
Most fairings are then discarded. What Elon Musk and SpaceX have tried to do is to retrieve the fairings' components, in order to reuse them.
View from the fairing during the STP-2 mission; when the fairing returns to Earth, friction heats up particles in the atmosphere, which appear bright blue in the video pic.twitter.com/P8dgaIfUbl— SpaceX (@SpaceX) July 3, 2019
Last year, SpaceX's founder, Elon Musk, stated that one fairing typically costs around $6 million.
That's a fair bit of cash to spare if Musk can find a way to reuse fairings.
With this in mind, Musk's fairing recovery boat, renamed "Ms. Tree," previously known as "Mr. Steven," now has a huge net with the purpose of catching the fairing's shell.
Landing in a net allows for the fairing's reuse
The net would enable the reuse of the fairing as less saltwater would infuse the fairing, which typically involves a higher number of repairs.
Ms. Tree successfully caught one half of the fairing in her net. SpaceX now would like to reuse the fairing.
Landing on Ms. Tree pic.twitter.com/4lhPWRpaS9— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 4, 2019
The company's fairings have been fitted with avionics, thrusters, and parachutes that facilitate steering, all in order to help with a softer landing.
SpaceX's plan is to ultimately catch both halves of the fairing in its ship's net, and reuse them in the future for other launches.
Watch the videos to catch striking glimpses of the fairing returning into the stratosphere.