Published On: Fri, Mar 31st, 2017

SpaceX even landed the nose cone from its historic used Falcon 9 rocket launch

SpaceX had one more victory this evening in its historical reuse of a rocket: it also landed the nose cone on top of the rocket that surrounds the payload to keep it safe, called a fairing. This is a first for SpaceX.

You can think of the fairing like a hard protective bubble atop the rocket. So it’s big: 5 meters — or more than 16 feet — in diameter. Fairing recovery has been a target for SpaceX for at least a year; Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, mentioned fairing retrieval as a goal in April 2016.

That’s because those nose cones, which are made of carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb, can cost a couple million dollars each, according to Musk. Being able to recover fairings is another…

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