Payload fairing separation is the planned moment when a rocket’s protective shell detaches. This exciting event now commonly occurs in many modern rocket launches.
However, a new video from SpaceX has captured an amazing view of its latest Falcon 9 fairing jettison.
The fresh SpaceX footage captures the moment of separation from the unique perspective of the fairing itself.
The nine-second clip posted to the SpaceX YouTube channel shows the two halves of a Falcon 9 rocket’s fairing pull away from the booster’s upper stage during a recent launch of 60 Starlink internet satellites.
Viewers were treated to the sight of the fairings separating from the SpaceX Falcon 9 upper stage, revealing the Starlink satellite stack inside.
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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 payload fairings are 4ft (13m) tall and a little more than 17ft (5 m) wide.
Fairings act as a shell around satellite payloads to protect the interior apparatus during the crucial first few minutes of launch.
The fairing halves generally detach approximately three minutes after liftoff.
SpaceX has added steering thrusters and parachutes to some fairing halves in order to reuse the fairings on multiple flights.
To intercept the fairings in the ocean, SpaceX has added giant nets to two retrieval ships, called Ms Tree and Ms Chief, to recover the precious panels.
According to SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk, Falcon 9 rocket fairings alone cost £4.7million ($6 million).
As a result, reusing the fairings on multiple flights can help slash launch costs.
The pioneering private space company has to date re-flown three fairing halves.
SpaceX June 2020 launch schedule:
June 12 at 10.42am BST (5.42am ET): Falcon 9 Starlink 8/SkySats 16-18. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is expected to launch the ninth batch of 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network.
Three SkySat Earth-imaging satellites for Planet will launch as ride-share payloads on this mission.
June 22 at 11.20pm BST (6.20pm ET): Falcon 9 Starlink 9/BlackSky Global 5 & 6. The tenth batch of 60 satellites for SpaceX’s Starlink broadband network, will launch, accompanied by Earth observation micro-satellites for BlackSky Global as ride-share payloads.
June 30 at 8.55pm BST (3.55pm ET): Falcon 9 GPS 3 SV03. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the US Air Force’s third third-generation navigation satellite for the Global Positioning System, built by Lockheed Martin.