SpaceX Fairing Recoveries

Payload fairing landing in Ms. Tree’s net during the Starlink v1-10 mission (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX has been working for years towards recovering and reusing payload fairings. Fairing is a two-piece protective shell made of aluminum and carbon composite at the tip of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets. Its purpose is to protect the payload from acoustic and atmospheric effects during launch. A Falcon fairing is almost 14 meters tall. Due to its size and the materials used, fairing production is time-consuming and costly (SpaceX produces the fairings in-house and the total cost for two fairing halves is 5 or 6 million dollars). So it is no wonder that the company would like to recover the fairings in order to use them repeatedly, just as it does with its rocket boosters.

Each fairing half is equipped with a steerable parafoil and small thrusters which allow the fairings to reenter the atmosphere intact and guide them toward a recovery zone. In the past, they attempted to land on modified ships Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief equipped with large nets. But this method had low success rate, so the fairings now land in the ocean and are then recovered by ships.

This list of fairing recovery attempts recognizes three generations of fairings: v1.0, v2.0 and v2.5. These are unofficial designations and there might actually be fewer or more fairing types. Version 1.0 was used until early 2018 with only one fairing half containing parachutes. Version 2.0 was used for most of 2018, was slightly wider and both of its halves could be recovered. Version 2.5 is the most recent type which added metal thermal protection on the tip of the fairing.

» Much more detailed article about fairing recovery and the ships Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief «

Changelog:

  • Jul 28, 2022 – Added information about the Starlink 4-22, 3-2 and 4-25 fairing recoveries
  • Jul 16, 2022 – Added information about the Starlink 3-1 fairing recovery
  • Jul 11, 2022 – Added information about the Starlink 4-21 fairing recovery
  • Jul 3, 2022 – Added information about the SES-22 fairing recovery
  • Jun 22, 2022 – Added information about the Starlink 4-19, SARah-1 and Globalstar FM15 fairing recoveries
  • Jun 17, 2022 – Added information about the Nilesat-301 fairing recovery
  • May 30, 2022 – Added information about the Transporter-5 fairing recovery

Legend: YES means the fairing successfully landed in the net. YES means the fairing missed the net but was then recovered from the ocean intact. YES means the fairing was recovered intact after a PLANNED ocean landing. NO means that the fairing wasn’t recovered intact (regardless of planned landing method). indicates a reused fairing (asterisk means that only one fairing half was reused).

Date (UTC) Mission Target(s) Type Recovered? Reused on
2022-07-24 Starlink 4-25 ocean v2.5 ♺
2022-07-22 Starlink 3-2 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2022-07-17 Starlink 4-22 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-07-11 Starlink 3-1 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-07-07 Starlink 4-21 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / NO ?
2022-06-29 SES-22 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-06-19 Globalstar FM15 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-06-18 SARah-1 ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2022-06-17 Starlink 4-19 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-06-08 Nilesat-301 ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2022-05-25 Transporter-5 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-05-18 Starlink 4-18 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-05-14 Starlink 4-15 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-05-13 Starlink 4-13 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2022-05-06 Starlink 4-17 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-04-29 Starlink 4-16 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-04-21 Starlink 4-14 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-04-17 NROL-85 ocean v2.5 UNCLEAR ?
2022-04-01 Transporter-4 ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2022-03-19 Starlink 4-12 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-03-09 Starlink 4-10 ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2022-03-03 Starlink 4-9 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-02-25 Starlink 4-11 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2022-02-21 Starlink 4-8 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-02-03 Starlink 4-7 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-02-02 NROL-87 ocean v2.5 UNCLEAR ?
2022-01-31 CSG-2 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-01-19 Starlink 4-6 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2022-01-13 Transporter-3 ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2022-01-06 Starlink 4-5 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2021-12-19 Türksat 5B ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2021-12-18 Starlink 4-4 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2021-12-09 IXPE ocean v2.5 YES / YES Starlink 4-14
2021-12-02 Starlink 4-3 ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2021-11-24 DART ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2021-11-13 Starlink 4-1 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2021-09-14 Starlink 2-1 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES Starlink 4-4 / Starlink 4-11
2021-06-16 Transporter-2 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES CSG-2
2021-06-16 GPSIII-SV05 ocean v2.5 YES / YES Türksat 5B
2021-06-06 SXM-8 ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2021-05-26 Starlink v1-28 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES Starlink 4-7
2021-05-15 Starlink v1-26 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / NO Starlink 4-8
2021-05-09 Starlink v1-27 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES Starlink 4-1 / Starlink 4-8
2021-05-04 Starlink v1-25 ocean v2.5 ♺* YES / NO Starlink 4-1
2021-04-07 Starlink v1-24 ocean v2.5 YES / YES Starlink 4-6
2021-04-07 Starlink v1-23 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / NO Starlink 4-5
2021-03-24 Starlink v1-22 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2021-03-14 Starlink v1-21 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES Starlink v1-28 / Transporter-2
2021-03-11 Starlink v1-20 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES Starlink 4-5 / Starlink 4-4
2021-03-04 Starlink v1-17 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES Starlink v1-28 / ?
2021-02-16 Starlink v1-19 ocean v2.5 YES / NO ?
2021-02-04 Starlink v1-18 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES? Transporter-2 / ?
2021-01-24 Transporter-1 ocean v2.5 YES / YES Starlink v1-21
2021-01-20 Starlink v1-16 ocean v2.5 ♺ NO / NO
2021-01-08 Türksat 5A Ms. Chief / ocean v2.5 ♺ NO / YES Starlink 2-1
2020-12-19 NROL-108 ocean v2.5 YES / YES Starlink v1-26 / Starlink 2-1
2020-12-13 SXM-7 Ms. Tree? / ocean v2.5 ♺* YES / YES Starlink v1-20 / Starlink v1-26
2020-11-25 Starlink v1-15 ocean v2.5 ♺ YESYES Starlink v1-23 / Starlink v1-17?
2020-11-21 Sentinel-6A ocean v2.5 YESYES Starlink v1-20 / Starlink v1-22
2020-11-05 GPSIII-SV04 ocean v2.5 YES / YES Starlink v1-27
2020-10-24 Starlink v1-14 ocean v2.5 YES? / YES? Starlink v1-22?
2020-10-18 Starlink v1-13 Ms. Chief / Ms. Tree v2.5 ♺ NO / NO ?
2020-10-06 Starlink v1-12 Ms. Chief / Ms. Tree v2.5 ♺* YES / YES Starlink v1-23 / ?
2020-09-03 Starlink v1-11 Ms. Chief / Ms. Tree v2.5 NO / NO
2020-08-31 SAOCOM 1B ocean v2.5 YES / YES Starlink v1-18 / ?
2020-08-18 Starlink v1-10 Ms. Chief / Ms. Tree v2.5 ♺ YES / YES Starlink v1-16? / Starlink v1-25
2020-08-07 Starlink v1-9 Ms. Chief / Ms. Tree v2.5 YES / YES Starlink v1-16? / ?
2020-07-20 ANASIS-II Ms. Chief / Ms. Tree v2.5 YES / YES SXM-7 / Türksat 5A
2020-06-30 GPSIII-SV03 ocean v2.5 YES / YES Türksat 5A / Starlink v1-18
2020-06-13 Starlink v1-8 Ms. Chief / Ms. Tree v2.5 ♺ YES / YES Starlink v1-13
2020-06-04 Starlink v1-7 ocean v2.5 YES / NO Starlink v1-15
2020-04-22 Starlink v1-6 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES? Starlink v1-15 / ?
2020-03-18 Starlink v1-5 Ms. Tree / Ms. Chief v2.5 ♺ YES / NO Starlink v1-12
2020-02-17 Starlink v1-4 Ms. Tree / Ms. Chief v2.5 NO / NO
2020-01-29 Starlink v1-3 Ms. Tree / Ms. Chief v2.5 YES / YES Starlink v1-10
2020-01-07 Starlink v1-2 Ms. Tree / ocean v2.5 NO / YES Starlink v1-8
2019-12-17 JCSAT-18/Kacific-1 Ms. Chief / Ms. Tree v2.5 YES / YES Starlink v1-8 / ?
2019-11-11 Starlink v1-1 v2.5 ♺ no attempt
2019-08-06 Amos-17 Ms. Tree / ocean v2.5 YES / YES Starlink v1-6
2019-06-25 STP-2 Ms. Tree / ocean v2.5 YES / NO
2019-05-24 Starlink v0.9 ocean v2.5 YES / YES Starlink v1-5
2019-04-12 Arabsat 6A ocean v2.5 YES / YES Starlink v1-1
2019-02-22 Nusantara Satu v2.5 no attempt
2018-12-23 GPSIII-SV01 v2.5 no attempt
2018-12-03 SSO-A Mr. Steven / ocean v2.0 YES / YES
2018-07-25 Iridium-7 Mr. Steven / ocean v2.0 NO / YES
2018-07-22 Telstar 19V ocean v1.0 NO
2018-06-04 SES-12 ocean v1.0 YES
2018-05-22 Iridium-6/GRACE-FO Mr. Steven / ocean v2.0 YES / YES