GO Ms. Tree (Previously Mr. Steven)

Previously named Mr. Steven. GO Ms. Tree is a fast, highly maneuverable vessel that was chartered by SpaceX in 2017 to support their fairing recovery program. The ship has been heavily modified by SpaceX so that it now has a large net structure designed to catch fairing halves as they descend.

 

GO Ms. Tree was designed as a fast crew/supply vessel, serving the oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico. In late 2017 the boat was chartered for use by SpaceX as they continued developing fairing recovery techniques. After a short stay on the East Coast at Port Canaveral, GO Ms. Tree passed through the Panama Canal and moved to the Port Of LA where the ship was fitted with its first arms and net.

 

GO Ms. Tree's first catching attempt was during the PAZ mission on 22nd February 2018. The attempt was unsuccessful, with the ship missing by a few hundred meters. Elon Musk suggested larger parachutes on the fairing could slow it down enough for Mr. Steven to catch the fairing.

The next catch attempt came with the Iridium-5 mission on 30th March. This catch was again unsuccessful as the fairing parafoil became twisted and malfunctioned.

 

For the next recovery attempt, Iridium-6, GO Ms. Tree was upgraded with a stronger yellow net, presumably to better support the fairing upon touchdown. GO Ms. Tree again came close but could not catch either payload fairing. Both were recovered intact afterward and returned to land.

 

Following Iridium-6, it was announced that GO Ms. Tree's net was to be massively upgraded. SpaceX technicians transformed the ship over two days, installing four new arms and a net that was four times the size of the old one. The new arms and net allowed for a greater margin of error during catch attempts.

GO Ms. Tree's upgraded arm-spam and the net was put to their first test during Iridium-7 in July 2018. This was also the first catch attempt to be performed at night. Weather at sea was not favorable and the attempt was again unsuccessful with only a single fairing half later being retrieved from the sea and returned to land.

 

GO Ms. Tree had another attempt during the SSO-A mission on December 3rd, 2018. The ship was again unsuccessful during the catch attempt but managed to retrieve both fairings intact from the water shortly afterward. Elon Musk later suggested on Twitter they may try to re-use the fairings, saying "Plan is to dry them out & launch again. Nothing wrong with a little swim."

 

The vessel was moved from the West Coast to the East Coast at the start of 2019. GO Ms. Tree arrived at Port Canaveral on February 11th. The catching structure was reinstalled and the ship performed several sea trials before setting sail for the PSN-6 mission.

 

Conditions at sea were extremely poor during the PSN-6 mission. Roughly ~15 hours before launch, GO Ms. Tree came to an unexpected halt right before the landing zone. After pausing for a while the ship turned around and returned to Port Canaveral. Arriving 24 hours later, the ship was visibly damaged - two arms and the net were completely missing, one of the antenna radomes and the boarding bridge had also been damaged and covered up. It is presumed that the rough conditions caused a failure of the catching structure and 2 arms were lost at sea. The remains of the structure was quickly removed by SpaceX technicians

Following the PSN-6 mission, GO Ms. Tree remained without its catching system for nearly 3 months whilst a replacement was engineered.

 

On May 20th, 2019, work began to install GO Ms. Tree's third set of arms. The new structure appeared to be of similar design to the second, with slight differences in shape. GO Ms. Tree's new net was also blue - rather than yellow as before.

Following the installation, the ship carried out extensive load testing by having a crane repeatedly lower a fairing half into different areas of the net. 

First Succesful Catch: Ms. Tree was sent out for the STP-2 mission, June 2019. The fairing recovery zone for the mission was at a record distance of 1350km downrange. The weather was excellent and the ship was successful in catching a fairing half for the first time. The fairing half was lowered from the net and delivered back to Port Canaveral for processing and potential re-use in the future.

Second Succesful Catch: Ms. Tree successfully caught a fairing half during the AMOS-17 mission on August 7th, 2019.