SpaceX will no longer catch rocket fairings for reuse. The engineers note that this approach has “limited effectiveness”, it is more profitable for the company to send parts of the missiles into the ocean, and then catch them from there using ships.
The company previously noted that intercepting the fairings would reduce the harmful effects of seawater and corrosion. This is important because the fairings are part of the rocket nose cone and protect the payload that is sent into orbit. However, engineers can completely rebuild the fairing – for example, the last time they did it eight months ago.
The company believed that SpaceX’s fairing refurbishment program was going well for a while. According to statistics, they caught only 9 fairings, although they made 50 attempts and practiced these maneuvers for years.
Now SpaceX will rebuild and repair fairings that fell into the ocean. While salt water will erode them over time, the company believes it will be faster and more profitable than catching missile parts.