Elon Musk has reportedly given up on catching his SpaceX rocket fairings with vessels and giant nets and instead is launching two new boats to the fleet specifically to recover fairings by fishing them out of the ocean.
The two new ships are named as ‘Bob’ and ‘Doug’ after the first Demo 2 astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley. They are some 280-feet long, and much larger than the earlier fairing catcing vessels (at 205 ft in length).
Musk’s team has also used a new landing drone for the first time, ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ which handled the landing of a Falcon 9 booster after it had launched a Dragon service cargo to the International Space Station.
NASA Spaceflight says that having the two former ‘net catching’ vessels was not efficient, hence the investments in Bob and Doug. SpaceX started conversion work on Bob and Doug in May last year transforming the ships from standard platform supply vessels being used to serve offshore platforms – into a SpaceX recovery ships.