GO Searcher is the SpaceX Crew Dragon recovery ship. From 2019, SpaceX will be launching Astronauts to the International Space Station in the Crew Dragon capsule. GO Searcher has been specially upgraded for the role of recovering the capsule, and passengers, after splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.
GO Searcher first joined the SpaceX fleet in support of ongoing experimental fairing recovery. The ship was tasked with waiting in the fairing recovery zones and retrieving fairings from the water once they had soft-landed under para-foil control. GO Searcher returned a number of fairings, in varying conditions, before being reassigned to Crew Dragon recovery work in early 2018. GO Pursuit then took on fairing recovery duties.
The ship was dry-docked in early summer 2018 for the start of modification works. A large antenna was fitted above the pilothouse, a medical treatment facility and storage unit was also installed on the deck
After leaving dry dock, the ship returned to Port Canaveral. The ship was painted white, in place of the former company green of ship operator Guice Offshore. Over the next few months, a helipad was installed above the medical treatment facility and painted with the SpaceX logo.
GO Searcher continued practice trials throughout the second half of 2018 and right up until the DM-1 mission in March 2019. GO Searcher was on-station, just offshore, during the DM-1 static fire and was then sent out, alongside GO Navigator, to recover the Crew Dragon capsule to complete the first demonstration mission. GO Searcher retrieved Dragon in 67 minutes on March 8th. The entire event was live-streamed by SpaceX.
In April 2019, the ship briefly returned back to its former job of fairing recovery. Alongside GO Navigator, the ship was fitted with inflatables and sent to retrieve the fairings during the ArabSat-6A and Starlink 0.9 missions. The ship was successful on both occasions and delivered an intact fairing half back to Port Canaveral upon the conclusion of both missions.
Learn more about Dragon Recovery
Dragon is a free-flying spacecraft designed to deliver both cargo and people to orbiting destinations. SpaceX has been flying and then recovering the spacecraft since 2010.
SpaceX is to start recovering a crew version of the capsule using a ship named GO Searcher that is specially outfitted for the job. The cargo variant is recovered by NRC Quest.