SpaceX Recovery Ship GO Navigator

GO Navigator is a Dragon recovery ship used by SpaceX. The vessel, alongside sister ship 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 throughout 2018 and 2019. The vessel is equipped with a medical treatment facility and helipad for emergency situations. 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.

To recover Dragon, the stern of GO Navigator has a large crane. 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 once it is secured on the deck of GO Navigator. NASA requires SpaceX to egress astronauts from Dragon within 60 minutes of 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 recovered Dragon for the first time during the Crew Demo-2 mission, August 2020.

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