Newest SpaceX Droneship ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ Arrives at Port Canaveral



Image via John Kraus Photos

The long-awaited third addition to SpaceX’s fleet of spaceport droneships, ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ (ASOG), arrived at Port Canaveral in Florida on the morning of Thursday, July 15.

ASOG joins its predecessor, ‘Just Read the Instructions’ (JRTI), in recovering Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy first-stage rockets and boosters on the east coast. SpaceX’s original droneship, ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ (OCISLY), has been deployed to the west coast.

A finished ASOG started sea-trials on July 9 and, accompanied by its tugboat ‘Finn Falgout’, set course for Port Canaveral in Florida upon successful completion. According to a tweet from SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, ASOG is entirely autonomous and doesn’t actually require a tugboat to maneuver.

Regulations may still require ASOG to be tugged in and out of port, but the vessel can navigate the sea on its own once offshore.

ASOG also looks a lot more put-together than its predecessors. According to another tweet from Musk congratulating the team on a job well done, ASOG is “version 3 of the SpaceX droneship”.

The origins of the names of these SpaceX droneships are named after the spaceships from the Culture series of books from late Scottish science fiction author, Iain M. Banks.

Naturally, ASOG improves upon the functionality and design language of its predecessors. A purpose-built superstructure on the deck of the vessel neatly tucks away the equipment storage containers that may be seen strewn about on the OCISLY or JRTI, as well as the diesel engines that power the droneship’s thrusters, and structural enhancements to the design increase the total landing area available.

ASOG even has party lights all over the deck and a Starlink terminal for internet while on the open sea.

You can click here to see more photos of ‘A Shortfall of Gravitas’ from photographer John Kraus.


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