For the Falcon Heavy, SpaceX didn't catch the fairings but did recover them promptly from the ocean. And with all the excitement surrounding the Starship Hopper and its first hop tests, there was one very important accomplishment that seems to have faded into the background a little.
"The Falcons have landed", Mr Musk wrote on Twitter, inaugurating the first successful recovery of all three rocket boosters, which will be refurbished and re-fly in another Falcon Heavy mission this summer to carry a swarm of military and science satellites for the Air Force. But what was especially impressive this time around is the fact that they managed to retrieve all three of the Falcon Heavy's rocket boosters, as well as the payload fairings.
This time all the boosters came back safely which makes this the first fully successful mission for the Falcon Heavy.
You can relive the entire launch and landing via the stream below. The company selected the Falcon Heavy for this launch back in 2015 since its extra lift capability meant that the satellite could be placed in a much higher transfer orbit, which will ensure a longer service life.
Heavy, which is 23-stories tall, equal to roughly 250 feet, and which previously launched Musk's cherry red Tesla roadster to space in a 2018 debut test flight, blasted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center carrying its first customer payload. 'Three for three boosters today for the Falcon Heavy'.
SpaceX has managed to achieve yet another historic milestone.
Two of the boosters landed in Cape Canaveral in Florida and the third booster landed on an off-shore drone ship. On top of that, Musk tweeted at 6:31 p.m. PDT (09:31 p.m. EDT) that the two payload fairings (aka. the nose cone) had been successfully retrieved at sea.
The next step is to put the fairings to work again on a Falcon 9 rocket that will blast additional Starlink satellites into orbit, scheduled for later this year.
SpaceX has tried to recover payload fairings during previous launches but to no avail. The company also made history by successfully recovering both of its side boosters and the central core booster, which it had never done before.
Unfortunately, the fairing halves have proven hard to recover.
The company even constructed a boat with a massive net attached, affectionately called Mr. Steven, to try to recover the fairings. This same principle has informed the mission architecture behind the BFR system, which consists of the reusable Starship spacecraft and the Super Heavy launch vehicle.
The latest launch marked the first time Falcon Heavy flies using the new Block 5 hardware, which is created to last longer than previous versions without the need for refurbishment.
SpaceX tries to re-use rockets, payload fairings, boosters and other parts to try to cut down on the cost of each rocket mission.