""It's like a giant catcher's mitt, in boat form," SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told reporters after the Falcon Heavy launch on Feb. 6, Space.com reported.
In particular, the giant net is designed to catch the payload fairings, also known as the nose-cone halves. During the Feb. 6 mission, the payload fairings held the now-famous midnight-cherry Tesla Roadster and its driver, a mannequin known as Starman.
SpaceX has saved one of its payload fairings before: In March 2017, the company launched a previously used Falcon 9 rocket to carry a payload — a communications satellite designed to provide TV, internet and other services to people in Latin America. After that launch, the payload fairings used an onboard thruster system and a parachute to safely land in the Atlantic Ocean, Space.com reported.
However, the new net aboard Mr. Steven will make will make it easier for the payload fairing to be retrieved, according to TechCrunch.
According to SeaTran, the company that owns Mr. Steven, the vessel is 205 feet (62 meters) long, can travel up to 32 knots (36.8 mph, or about 59 km/h) and has a deck measuring 136 feet by 27 feet (41 by 8 m). It's not clear why the 2015 watercraft is named Mr. Steven (SeaTran didn't immediately respond to a request for comment), but other vessels in the company's fleet have similar names, including Lady Eve, Mr. Mason, Miss Claire and, amusingly, Greater Scott." space.com
Now this is "cool" as they say in French movies. This robot boat will steam out into the Pacific from Catalina Island (off LA) to position itself to meet the fairing halves as they descend on geo-tagged parachutes. My. My.
This would save the company about$5 million over and above what they claw back from re-usable boosters.
I can hardly wait to see them try this,
BTW, Avalon, the town on Catalina is a really neat place. pl