One of SpaceX’s new support ships, Doug, arrives at Port Canaveral

SpaceX's Doug ship Port Canaveral

The newest addition to SpaceX’s fleet, Doug, has finished its trip from Port Fourchon, Louisiana to Port Canaveral, Florida, arriving late Monday night.

We’ve been waiting for this moment since we broke the story that SpaceX acquired two offshore supply ships for their space operations. The current theory for what Bob and Doug will be used for will be to consolidate most of SpaceX’s fleet members, which is mostly based out of Port Canaveral. Supposedly these ships will be able to act as the droneship’s tug, crew support vessel, and fairing recovery.

This would help bring SpaceX’s fleet down a few vessels that are currently contracted out to several other companies. Bob (the second ship stuck in Port Fourchon after Hurricane Ida) and Doug are much larger than the GO ships we see SpaceX use regularly. They are closer in size to the two contracted fairing ships that SpaceX used earlier this year.

SpaceX’s Doug docked at the north cargo pier where most of their port operations happen. Credit: Jared Locke for Space Explored

Inspiration4 could be Doug’s first mission

Now that Doug has arrived, we expect SpaceX to continue some sea trials out of Port Canaveral with Doug before its first operational mission. That first mission could be as soon as mid-September. Inspiration4 is preparing to launch the first all civilian crewed mission to orbit on September 15th and they will be in need of a support ship for their booster’s landing.

To save SpaceX and other agencies from extra work, I4 will copy flight details from the companies crewed flights to the International Space Station. That means I4’s launch will look very similar to SpaceX’s DM-2, Crew-1, and 2 missions minus their arrival at the space station. This would most likely mean the need for a droneship to recover the booster which could mean Doug’s first mission.

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