Earlier today it was confirmed that the barge designated Marmac 302 was being worked on in Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The barge looks to be getting modifications for Falcon 9 landings.
SpaceX operates 2 barges of similar design, Marmac 303 and Marmac 304, better known as Just Read the Instructions and Of Course I Still Love You. They have been the backbone of SpaceX’s plan to reuse their workhorse rocket, the Falcon 9.
In late 2019, SpaceX moved Just Read The Instructions from the Port of Los Angeles over to Port Canaveral to help ramp up launches of their Starlink satellites. This left SpaceX’s west coast launch operations with only two options, land the booster at LZ-4 or expend the rocket. Luckily, Vandenberg sees only a handful of launches each year so this was not a concern but we will see a new uptick in west coast launches this year and years coming after.
This means SpaceX might need a third droneship and Elon Musk has teased that a third one is coming. The only other barge with the same design as the other two, Marmac 302, is expected to be that third droneship. The name will be A Shortfall of Gravitas, we spotted it in Port Fourchon undergoing modifications similar to what was done to Just Read The Instructions when it was given upgrades after its move from the west coast.
Modifications include work to the deck to support the extra force of a landing rocket, thrusters on the four sides for station keeping during missions, and a garage to hold the third Octograbber that was discovered earlier this year.
ASOG as it will be abbreviated will be used for Falcon 9 landings as SpaceX has decided to use old oil rigs for Starship. ASOG is expected to make its debut sometime this year but unsure from what coast just yet. Either way, we in the space community are excited to welcome the newest droneship to the SpaceX fleet.
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