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Shelia Bordelon

Shelia Bordelon offshore - Bordelon Marine

Shelia Bordelon was a temporary contracted SpaceX fairing recovery vessel. Designed as an ultra-light subsea exploration ship, SpaceX contracted the Shelia Bordelon from March – May 2021 for the fairing recovery program, intending to use the 50 ton crane to lift fairing halves from the water after they land under parafoil control, following a Falcon 9 launch.

Vital Statistics

Owner: Bordelon Marine, LLC

Operator: Bordelon Marine, LLC

Year Built: 2015

IMO: 9670638

Length: 68.33m

Width: 15.8m

Joined SpaceX Fleet: 2021

Retired from SpaceX Fleet: 2021

Full Specification Sheet.

Throughout 2020, SpaceX was not always attempting to catch the fairing half and instead opting to go straight for wet recovery, a process where the fairing is allowed to gracefully land on the ocean surface and is then lifted onto the recovery ship. This method often proved more reliable and less high-risk than catch attempts – which occasionally ended with significant damage to fairings and the catcher ships. 

Fairing catcher ships Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief were decommissioned and retired from SpaceX operations in April 2021 when SpaceX abandoned the catching program. Initially, Dragon recovery ships GO Searcher and GO Navigator were reassigned to fairing wet recovery but ultimately had to return to their primary Dragon role to support conflicting crew launches. SpaceX then contracted Shelia Bordelon for fairing operations for an interim period.

Shelia Bordelon successfully recovered two fairing halves for the first time during the Starlink V1 L22 mission on March 24th, 2021.

Shelia Bordelon offshore - Bordelon Marine


Starlink V1 L26Fairing Recovery
Starlink V1 L27Fairing Recovery
Starlink V1 L25Fairing Recovery
Starlink V1 L24Fairing Recovery
Starlink V1 L23Fairing Recovery
Starlink V1 L22Fairing Recovery

For the outcome of each mission, click here.