SpaceX’s Third New Drone Ship to Be Called "A Shortfall of Gravitas"

Landing a rocket booster on solid ground, hard as that sounds, only requires a stable concrete platform on which the booster to return to and a decent amount of clear space around it. When landing on water, however, using a manned ship will not do, hence SpaceX’s use of drone ships.
A Shortfall of Gravitas to join existing fleet of drone ships 1 photo
Photo: SpaceX
There have been several landings on remotely operated ships SpaceX has attempted, some successful, some not so much. The Falcon Heavy core booster for instance missed its sea-based target and pretty much wrecked it in the process.

The space-faring company is working on a new vessel capable of supporting booster landings, Teslarati reports, one they will call A Shortfall of Gravitas. It will be the third of its kind and is expected to operate in tandem with the two other existing ones, the Of Course I Still Love You, based on the East Coast (the one damaged by the Falcon Heavy botched landing), and Just Read the Instructions, on the West Coast.

Officially called autonomous spaceport drone ships (ASDS), the drones take their name from space-going vessels from the Culture series of novels written by Iain M. Banks.

The drones are derived from deck barges and are fitted with station-keeping engines and a large landing platform. A steel blast wall has been installed between the aft containers and the landing deck to accommodate the landing of the boosters.

The need for a third drone ship has arisen because of the increasing number of launches SpaceX is managing for NASA and other contractors. The time required to get into position, as well as the maximum three days, need to unload the booster from the barge are just too much for a fleet of only two such ships.

Talking about the new drone ship, Elon Musk also revealed that the cost of the Falcon Heavy booster is slightly higher than the expended ones used on the Falcon 9, that is around $95 million.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram X (Twitter)
About the author: Daniel Patrascu
Daniel Patrascu profile photo

Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories