Along the USA coastline, there is an unusual vessel named ‘MR. STEVEN’ that is designed to assist one of the planet’s most cutting-edge industries with some of the oldest technology invented – a net.
SpaceX was founded in 2002 by CEO Elon Musk and creates, constructs and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft in the USA. Among the company’s most recent notable achievements is the 2018 launching of the world’s most powerful operational rocket – the Falcon Heavy. Space exploration and the launch of communications and research equipment is becoming increasingly common, and with each launch comes the production of expensive faring designed to protect the rocket during launch then falling off before reaching orbit.
Built in 2015, MR. STEVEN has an L.O.A. of 61.57m/202ft and features instantly recognisable catching arms that hold a yellow net with an area of nearly 3,700m²/39,826ft² following an upgrade in 2018. When the fairings slough off during the launch process, M/Y MR. STEVEN will be able to recover these sections before they splash down into the sea. Once returned to land, they will be reused in future launches to result in significant accumulated savings.
The SpaceX launch manifest reveals at least one launch per month for the company, with coastal launch sites in Florida and Vandenberg ensuring that recovery vessel MR. STEVEN will see plenty of use in recovering fairings and reducing the cost of future satellite launches.