SpaceX’s component-catching ship has got an upgrade. Mr Steven, the vessel designed to catch the fairing from the Falcon 9 as it returns to Earth after launch, has been demonstrating its larger net around the port of Los Angeles. New images on Tuesday and a video earlier this week show the ship conducting sea trials at speeds of up to 20 knots, or 20 mph.
Images captured by Teslarati and video captured by YouTuber “Drone Dronester” show the ship conducting tests between July 12 and 15, with the crew and recovery technicians sending the ship out after a multi-week installation of the new net. The ship is what’s known as a “fast supply vessel,” meaning it’s ranked to move 400 metric tons of cargo at regular speeds of 23 knots, or 27 mph. The ship itself weighs almost 200,000 pounds and is around 200 feet long. The crew focused on sharp corners at high speed less than half an hour after setting sail, testing the stability with a net that’s four times bigger than its predecessor with an area of 0.9 acres.