Earlier this month we broke the news that SpaceX-related construction has started on the Marmac 302 barge in Port Fourchon, Louisiana. New images show more construction has been completed.
The barges that SpaceX uses for their Falcon 9 booster landings are heavily modified to support these operations. These barges get reinforced decks, power generators, a garage for Octograbber, and four huge thrusters to keep their position. The last we saw from ASOG was just the beginning of these upgrades.
Now we got a much better full-on side view of ASOG that shows work on the deck on a third thruster being worked on. In addition to the deck work, the two thrusters we saw last time have now been installed onto the side of the barge. These thrusters are then lowered down into the water to provide station-keeping abilities during landing operations.
Construction seems to be in full swing and we could see a more operational ready droneship in the coming weeks. It is still unsure what coast ASOG will go to but the best bet will be Cape Canaveral due to the need to test out the barge before its first mission.
A third droneship will be used to provide the ability to return to the capability of having droneship landings on both coasts. Something not possible since Just Read The Instructions moved from the west coast to the cape in 2019. It will also allow the continued push to launch as many Starlink missions as SpaceX can with continuous droneship service.
Exclusive ground images
Photographer Daryl Sausse also took the time to drive out to Port Fourchon to snag some photos of ASOG. These photos show that teams seem to be ready to lift and install the third thruster. An addition that is on this barge and not the others is a “hump” on the back of the barge. This could be replacing the storage units that we’ve seen on the older droneships. These are used to store equipment needed to secure the boosters after landing.
Featured image by @ed_guidry
Want to help support Space Explored?
Shop on Amazon to support Space Explored writers.
Directly support Seth by becoming a member of their Patreon.