Video: Elon Musk Reveals SpaceX’s New Autonomous Drone Ship For Landing Rockets At Sea

The well-known drone fleet that has been in use by SpaceX to effectively catch all falling rockets, welcomes a third ship, named “A Shortfall of Gravitas (ASOG).”

Elon Musk, the Founder, tweeted about the unveiling of the newest floating rocket landing on July 9. He uploaded a video from a flying drone that had been circling the ship.

The drone ship is completely autonomous. It requires no tugboat to take the ship out into the Atlantic Ocean near SpaceX’s usual launch site at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

SpaceX Autonomous rocket landing ship - a shortfall of gravitas -
Image Credits: @elonmusk – Twitter

From a visual perspective, ASOG is a departure from its older siblings Just Read the Instructions (JRTI) and Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY).

That process of refinement is an integral part of SpaceX’s functioning and ASOG, thereby, likely represents years of lessons that have been learned from nearly 80 booster recovery attempts and 65+ successful landings.

ASOG is much sleeker and more optimized compared to siblings. On ASOG, the extra equipment needed to turn a barge into a ‘drone ship’ is packaged in a sturdier way within steel bunkers. For OCISLY or JRTI, there were generators, communication equipment, power supplies, and computers strewn about decks within shipping containers.

On JRTI and OCISLY, the protection against the blast of a landing Falcon booster and damage from the high seas smashing the equipment is given by two angled steel deflectors. ASOG looks like a battle-hardened tank with nearly no identifiable equipment to be seen under shielding and black steel covers. ASOG is built to bear tremendous rocket blasts and sea currents.

ASOG’s landing deck is angular and much smaller and narrower when compared to the rectangular decks of OCISLY and JRTI. Most of ASOG’s equipment has been installed on the drone ship’s aft end, supporting deck load distribution.

SpaceX aspires to do an orbital test of Starship. It was targeting July, however, it is currently awaiting certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


Marine Insight does not own the rights of the video.

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