Fantastic update from Chris Bergin over at NASASpaceFlight.com on SpaceX’s incredible week. Two launches, one reused stage, two successful landings and recoveries, the first appearance of their new robot on the droneship, the best attempt yet at recovering fairings. All while preparing for another launch Sunday.
This bit from Bergin sheds a bit of light on the fairing recovery attempt and the mechanics of the recovery itself:
Classed as the best attempt to date, SpaceX has added steerable parachutes to guide the fairing halves to the ocean surface, before it deploys a “bouncy castle” that protects it while it awaits recovery. The technology is still being refined, but Elon Musk believes full recovery could be achieved later this year.
When people heard “bouncy castle,” most people thought the fairings were going to be steering into a prepositioned inflatable recovery surface. Instead, as it sounds here, the inflatable piece is deployed from the fairing halves themselves. Can’t wait to see video when they finally get to that point.