GO Searcher is a Dragon recovery ship used by SpaceX. The vessel is one of two ships configured to recover the capsule after splashdown at the end of a mission or during certain abort scenarios. GO Searcher has been a part of the SpaceX recovery fleet since 2016.
Owner: Guice Offshore
Operator: Guice Offshore
Year Built: 2010
Joined SpaceX Fleet: 2016
GO Searcher has been preparing for Dragon recovery operations since early 2018, completing countless hours of training and upgrade works. The vessel had a starring role during the first flight of Crew Dragon, recovering the capsule from the Atlantic Ocean after its week-long stay at the International Space Station.
The vessel recovered Crew Dragon for a second time during the In-Flight Abort test mission, where SpaceX purposefully destroyed a booster to test that Dragon’s escape system worked as designed.
During summer 2018, SpaceX upgraded the vessel for Dragon recovery operations. GO Searcher boasts a medical treatment facility, helipad, and extensive communication radars. A large lifting crane is installed on the stern of the vessel to lift the capsule from the water.
Following splashdown of the capsule, recovery teams in small fast-approach boats connect lines between GO Searcher and Dragon, and then the capsule is carefully lifted from the water. Astronauts would then egress from the capsule once it is secured on the deck of GO Searcher. NASA requires SpaceX to egress astronauts from Dragon within 60 minutes of splashdown.
When splashdown occurs offshore near Cape Canaveral, astronauts will be recovered and travel back to Port Canaveral on board the recovery ship. In the event of a medical emergency or a splashdown elsewhere, a helicopter will land and transport the astronauts back to land. SpaceX completed a demonstration of a helicopter evacuation for NASA in fall 2018.
Between April and May 2019 the ship was temporarily re-assigned to fairing recovery operations. 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.
|Starlink V1 L15||Fairing Recovery|
|In-Flight-Abort Test||Crew Dragon Recovery|
|Starlink V0.9||Fairing Recovery|
|Crew DM-1||Crew Dragon Recovery|
|ABS/Eutelsat M2||Fairing Recovery|
|Thaicom 8||Fairing Recovery|