GO Navigator is the secondary Dragon recovery vessel. The vessel, alongside GO Searcher, recovers Dragon at the end of a mission or during certain abort scenarios. GO Navigator joined the recovery fleet in August 2018.
GO Navigator was slowly upgraded to match GO Searcher - the primary Dragon recovery vessel - throughout 2018 and 2019. The vessel is equipped with a medical treatment facility and helipad for emergency situations. During normal recovery operations, astronauts would sail back to land onboard GO Navigator, however, should the need arise, a helicopter can land and evacuate them to safety quickly.
To recover Dragon, the stern of GO Navigator has a large lifting A-Frame. Recovery teams in small fast-approach boats connect lines between GO Navigator and Dragon and then the capsule is carefully lifted from the water. Astronauts would then egress from the capsule at this point. NASA requires SpaceX to egress astronauts from Dragon within 60 minutes following splashdown.
GO Navigator has conducted many hours of training to prepare for the role of recovering Dragon and astronauts. The vessel had a supporting role during the first flight of Crew Dragon and the Dragon In-Flight Abort Test. The vessel will have a key role in the recovery operation of SpaceX's first crewed mission, Demo-2.
Between April and May 2019, GO Navigator was temporarily re-assigned to fairing recovery operations for the ArabSat-6A, Starlink 0.9, STP-2, and AMOS-17 missions. The ship was fitted with inflatables and sent downrange to haul fairing halves from the water. The ship was successful and delivered a fairing half back to Port Canaveral during each mission.