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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

SpaceX Almost Caught Part of a Rocket Using a Boat and a Giant Net


Early Thursday morning, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force base carrying two telecommunication satellites to Low Earth Orbit. Those satellites are testing the viability of Starlink, Elon Musk's plan to cover every inch of the Earth with satellite broadband. It's the first step toward making this highly ambitious (and historically ill-fated) project a reality, but the launch was also remarkable for what happened after the satellites were deployed in orbit.

Off the California coast, a boat called 205-foot boat called Mr. Steven, owned by a company called SeaTran, attempted to catch the Falcon 9's fairing (the casing on the top of the rocket that holds its payload) as it fell back to Earth. According to a Tweet from Musk, the boat missed the fairing "by a few hundred meters."

"Fairing landed intact in the water," Musk tweeted. "Should be able to catch it with slightly bigger chutes to slow down descent."

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