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SpaceX new support Droneship “A Shortfall Of Gravitas” is fully autonomous launchpad

Elon Musk shows off SpaceX’s new launch support Droneship, “A Shortfall Of Gravitas” (ASOG). All launchpads in SpaceX are autonomous, but the other Droneships need a tug boat to be towed back to the landing area. The fully autonomous Droneship was spotted on multiple occasions ever since it was announced in 2018.

Elon Musk Shows Off New SpaceX Falcon 9 Autonomous Droneship -'A Shortfall Of Gravitas'

Image credits- Tesmanian

A Shortfall Of Gravitas was planned to be launch in 2019. Eventually, by 2020, Elon Musk mentioned SpaceX’s plans to build the Droneship. Then by January 2021, the fully autonomous launchpad was first spotted at Bollinger Fourchon Site. Recently, Elon Musk tweeted a video showing the Droneship going into the waters.

Furthermore, the new Droneship is a conversion of Marmac 302 into ASOG. SpaceX already holds the record of resuing the rockets multiple times. SpaceX orbital-class is capable of propulsive descent. A Shortfall of Gravitas is expected to start its operation, as now the sea testing is going on. According to Tim Dodd, a rocket science YouTuber known as Everyday Astronaut, “Well it was just confirmed, the upgrades here actually make it so this beast is fully autonomous and no longer requires a tug! The old ones were towed out to the landing coordinates and then would station keep… looks like that’s no longer the case!,”

Till now, Flacon 9 had 89 orbital-class landings and boosters were reused 68 times. Which is the reason why SpaceX is able to offer cheaper space rides than the competing space companies. Recently Elon Musk announced that they increased goals for Flacon 9 reusability. As they plan to launch the Falcon 9 booster 20-30 times without needing refurbishment. The new autonomous Droneship will support launches at Port Canaveral, Florida.

It is expected that the upcoming  Falcon heavy side booster B1065 recovery landing will be done on this new Droneship. The booster was earlier used in the USSF-44 mission.

Other Droneships

SpaceX Droneships are all named after spacecraft in “Culture” novels by the author Iain M. Banks. The other Droneships include, ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ (OCISLY) and ‘Just Read The Instructions’ (JRTI). In the novels, the Starships are built with artificial intelligence which can select a name for itself.

Upon center core’s landing failure when Flacon 9 first landed on “Of Course I Still Love You”. Musk said, “Not enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines after several three engine relights. Fix is pretty obvious.” By 300 km the rocket’s center core missed the Droneship.

SpaceX's Of Course I Still Love You drone ship, which is based on the East Coast.

Image credits- Florida Today




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