SpaceX Fairing Recoveries

Recovered fairings from Starlink v1-12 (Credit: Stephen Marr)

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 «


Changelog:

  • Apr 7, 2024 – Added information about the Eutelsat 36D, Starlink 6-45 and Starlink 7-18 fairing recoveries
  • Apr 3, 2024 – Added information about the Starlink 6-44, 7-16, 6-42 and 6-46 fairing recoveries; all 2023 recovery attempts have been moved to a separate page
  • Mar 16, 2024 – Added information about the Starlink 7-15, 6-39, 6-40, 6-41, 6-43, 7-17 and Transporter-10 fairing recoveries
  • Feb 24, 2024 – Added information about the PACE, Starlink 7-13, USSF-124, IM-1, Starlink 7-14 and Merah Putih 2 fairing recoveries
  • Feb 3, 2024 – Added information about the Starlink 7-11, 6-38, 7-12 and Cygnus NG-20 fairing recoveries
  • Jan 24, 2024 – Added information about the Starlink 7-10 and 6-37 fairing recoveries
  • Jan 14, 2024 – Added information about the Starlink 6-35 fairing recovery

2023 Recoveries >>

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
2024-04-02 Starlink 7-18 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2024-03-31 Starlink 6-45 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-03-30 Eutelsat 36D ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-03-26 Starlink 6-46 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-03-24 Starlink 6-42 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-03-19 Starlink 7-16 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2024-03-16 Starlink 6-44 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-03-11 Starlink 7-17 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2024-03-10 Starlink 6-43 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-03-05 Starlink 6-41 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-03-04 Transporter-10 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2024-02-29 Starlink 6-40 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-02-25 Starlink 6-39 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-02-23 Starlink 7-15 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2024-02-20 Merah Putih 2 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / NO ?
2024-02-15 Starlink 7-14 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2024-02-15 IM-1 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-02-14 USSF-124 ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2024-02-10 Starlink 7-13 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2024-02-08 PACE ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2024-01-30 Cygnus NG-20 ocean v2.5 YES / YES ?
2024-01-29 Starlink 7-12 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2024-01-29 Starlink 6-38 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-01-24 Starlink 7-11 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2024-01-15 Starlink 6-37 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-01-14 Starlink 7-10 ocean v2.5 ♺? UNCLEAR ?
2024-01-07 Starlink 6-35 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-01-03 Ovzon-3 ocean v2.5 ♺ YES / YES ?
2024-01-03 Starlink 7-9 ocean v2.5 ♺ UNCLEAR ?
2023 Recoveries >>

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Jeff

Thanks for the effort. Suggestion for improvement: for the Recovered column, instead of using colored YES, use the following:
NET: recovered by the NET
SEA: planned and recovered from the sea
N->S: Planned by the net, missed and recovered from the sea

Robert Mullins

Update in timely fashion , Starlink 16 launched yesterday 24 hours later nothing

Max

In the last two columns, do the left and right of the slash refer to passive/active or viceversa or random? I am tracking individual fairing halves and I use your table to validate my guesses. Thanks for this great resource.