Jun 19 2015

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SpaceX modifies ASDS fleet

SpaceX Augments and Upgrades Drone Ship Armada. The article provides details of ASDS operations that I have seen elsewhere, like:

  • The ASDS is towed two and from port by the Elsbeth III, a tugboat. A support ship, the GO Quest, is also commissioned to be on station.
  • Upon reaching its booster recovery destination, the crew of the Elsbeth III boards the ASDS and starts its thrusters so that it can maintain its position.
  • The deck is flooded with water prior to booster landing to keep the deck cool.

This answers a lot of questions I’ve had — primarily, “How does the rocket become secured (griped) to the deck after it lands?” The crew of the Elsbeth III goes aboard the ASDS a couple hours after the booster lands and gripes the rocket to the deck (or welds it to the deck — I think griping would work better, but I don’t think I see gripe holds in the ASDS deck).

Changes to the ASDS fleet include

  • The retirement of the original ASDS, Just Read the Instructions
  • The replacement for Just Read the Instructions is already in Jacksonville getting refitted.
  • Of Course I Still Love You transited the Panama Canal on June 15th and will be used to support launches from Vandenberg AFB. It’s being towed by the tugboat Rhea
  • The Of Course I Still Love You class has two additional bow thrusters for station keeping, as well as a fore and aft blast wall to protect communication gear from debris in case of recovery failure.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/06/19/spacex-modifies-asds-fleet/

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