Mr. Steven narrowly misses its first SpaceX fairing catch

Science / Tech

Elon Musk already has ideas about how to do better next time.

Image Courtesy Elon Musk

So we recently learned about the addition of Mr. Steven to the SpaceX drone ship fleet. The “catcher’s mitt” ship was intended to catch the falling rocket fairings as they gently parachuted after fulfilling their duties protecting rocket payloads during launch. Mr. Steven had its first opportunity to catch some SpaceX fairings today after a re-scheduled launch, and while a valiant effort was made, the net-equipped drone ship came up just short.

Today’s launch was meant, among other things, to place a pair of test satellites into orbit for SpaceX’s satellite internet service. These were interestingly named as well, Tintin A & B. Elon tossed an extra bit of levity into the launch, talking about Tintin’s first transmissions before revealing their “password.”

As for Mr. Steven, the drone ship came close, but ended up missing the parachuting fairings by “a few hundred meters” which is really pretty impressive for a first attempt. Musk already has ideas about how to do better next time, including the addition of slightly bigger parachutes to slow things down a bit more next time. Even though it seems like no big deal now, it’s a good idea to remember that the first few attempts at landing the rocket stages weren’t successful either. They got there eventually, and I’m sure they’ll do the same here as well.

You can check out the full mission video below if you’re so inclined.

What do you think about today’s SpaceX launch and Mr. Steven’s attempt at playing catch? Tell us all about it in the comment section below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

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