SpaceX renaming its Dragon recovery ships to honor its first two female astronauts

According to Coast Guard documents, SpaceX’s contracted Dragon recovery ships will be renamed in honor of NASA Astronauts Shannon Walker and Megan McArthur.

The two ships being renamed are GO Navigator and GO Searcher. Both have already received a coat of paint over their hull nameplates. Navigator and Searcher’s duties are to assist in the recovery and return of SpaceX‘s Crew and Cargo Dragon spacecraft, per their relation with the astronauts they are honoring.

Last week, the change was first noticed when the nameplates on each ship’s hull were covered over in white paint. According to filings with the Coast Guard, Navigator and Searcher will be renamed to Shannon and Megan. They will team up with SpaceX’s fairing recovery ships named after the company’s first two ever astronauts, Bob and Doug.

GO Navigator (soon Shannon) and GO Searcher (soon Megan) docked at Port Canaveral. Credit: Jared Locke / Space Explored

Guice Offshore (GO) owns and operates these ships, but that could change with these new names. SpaceX has used these two ships for many years, and both are heavily modified for Dragon recovery operations. Between GO removing the ships from its website and SpaceX renaming them, it could be the first sign of a transfer of ownership.

Usually, it’s bad luck in the naval community to rename a ship without a ceremony, but SpaceX must not be superstitious as it has renamed several boats over the years.

About Shannon Walker

Walker is a veteran of two spaceflights, first on a Soyuz back in 2010 and her most recent one on SpaceX’s Crew-1 in 2020. On these flights, she took part in ISS Expedition 24/25 and 64/65 and served as commander of the space station for several weeks before departing. In addition, Walker was the first woman to fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft.

About Megan McArthur

McArthur is also a veteran of two spaceflights; however, she has only visited the space station once. Her first flight was STS-125 in 2009, where she was a flight engineer. STS-125 was the final servicing mission of the historic Hubble Space Telescope, of which McArthur had a chance to operate Atlantis’ robotic arm on it. Her second spaceflight was on SpaceX Crew-2 to the ISS. She was the first woman to be the pilot on Dragon and was a member of Expedition 65/66 for the station.

Featured Image: Jared Locke / Space Explored

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