In a telltale sign that SpaceX is growing much more confident in its ability to consistently recover Falcon 9 fairings, the company has accepted delivery of second recovery ship almost identical to GO Ms. Tree (formerly Mr. Steven) just days after nailing its second fairing catch in a row.
Regardless, the spaceflight company now has a pair of Port Canaveral-based fairing recovery ships in hand – named Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief – and is thus making excellent progress towards catching and reusing both halves of the same Falcon 9 (or Heavy) fairing.
With GO Ms. Chief’s August 10th arrival at Port Canaveral, SpaceX’s team of Florida-based recovery engineers and technicians will now be tasked with modifying the ship for Falcon fairing catching.
Shortly after installation and a quick renaming from Mr. Steven to GO Ms. Tree, Ms. Tree’s inaugural Mk3 recovery attempt culminated in SpaceX’s first and second successful fairing catches – back-to-back – on June 24th and August 6th.
Despite both ships being nearly identical, SpaceX is unlikely to simply copy and paste Ms. Tree’s thus far successful arms and net, likely instead doing what the company is famous for and fabricating a new and improved variant of the fairing recovery mechanism.
If Mr. Steven and Ms. Tree’s transformations are anything to go by, that hefty chunk of time that should be more than sufficient to fully outfit Ms. Chief with a fresh fairing recovery mechanism, assuming SpaceX has been simultaneously fabricating the hardware in anticipation of Ms. Chief’s arrival.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see if SpaceX’s next launches – both believed to be 60-satellite Starlink missions – will mark the recovery debut of Ms. Chief, as well as the first attempted catch of both Falcon fairing halves.