Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, is busy in preparing a new space drone ship that will enhance the rocket recovering capacity of SpaceX. As the year 2018 is going to be a busy year for SpaceX, the company wants to make sure that it has enough facilities for rocket landing. For that, it is building a new drone ship that will join two other SpaceX drone ships currently floating on the Space Coast.
The name of the new drone ship is A Shortfall of Gravitas and will join the currently operational Of Course I Still Love You drone ship for East Coast booster landing operations. SpaceX’s third ship, named Just Read the Instructions, is currently operational at the West Coast is used for rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base. All the three drone ships are named after the spacecraft that featured in Scottish author Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels.
Once A Shortfall of Gravitas joins Of Course I Still Love You, SpaceX can handle increased launch operations efficiently and can also land as many boosters as possible so as to make rocket launch cheaper. Currently, Of Course I Still Love You is present at Port Canaveral and has successfully recovered many Falcon 9 boosters for reuse. Recently, on February 6, SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy rocket carrying the Musk’s Tesla roadster to space. The Falcon Heavy rocket flew with Three Falcon 9 booster- a strengthened central core and two side strap boosters. SpaceX successfully managed to recover the two first stage side boosters of Falcon Heavy as they landed back perfectly on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. But SpaceX says that it will not always use the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to land the two side boosters of Falcon Heavy. In some cases involving tight fuel margins and also heavy satellites, the company will use two drone ships on the Space Coast for landing the boosters.
After the Falcon Heavy launch, from Kennedy Space Center, the rocket’s the rocket’s center core missed the Of Course I Still Love You ship by about 300 feet, but the force created by its 300 mph water impact damaged the ship’s two engines. Regarding the damage to the ship, Musk said, “Not enough ignition fluid to light the outer two engines after several three engine relights. Fix is pretty obvious.”