A Shortfall of Gravitas
A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship underway – Julia Bergeron (NSF)
A Shortfall of Gravitas (ASOG) is a SpaceX autonomous spaceport droneship (ASDS), operating out of Port Canaveral, Florida. The droneship is based upon barge Marmac 302.
A Shortfall of Gravitas is named after a spacecraft titled ‘Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall‘ from the novel ‘Look to Windward‘, by author Iain M. Banks’s from the Culture series.
A Shortfall of Gravitas had been teased by SpaceX boss Elon Musk frequently since it was first announced in 2018. A further update by Elon suggested that the droneship would enter service in 2019 but no further news on this followed. Musk once again mentioned the droneship in October 2020, fueling rumors that the project had been restarted.
A brand new Octagrabber robot was spotted in March 2021 under construction at SpaceX’s Cidco Road facility in Florida, further suggesting a new droneship was under development. Barge Marmac 302 was ultimately located by May 2021 by space-offshore.com and local photographers visited the site and confirmed the existence of the droneship.
Elon Musk officially showcased the droneship on July 9th, 2021 with a short clip of ASOG running autonomously during a sea trial. A Shortfall of Gravitas arrived at its Florida home port on July 15th, 2021.
A Shortfall of Gravitas first mission was CRS-23 on August 29th, 2021, which concluded with a successful landing of B1061, close to dead-centre.
ASOG has often been dubbed droneship 3.0 by SpaceX observers. Visually, A Shortfall of Gravitas visually appears to follow a much more refined design than SpaceX’s other droneships.
In contrast to OCISLY and JRTI, the ground support equipment on ASOG is solely located on the stern of the droneship, creating a larger landing area for Falcon boosters. ASOG was also the first droneship to debut tapered wings on the landing area, something that was later retro-fitted to OCISLY.
Although a more refined design, ASOG still has very similar components to other droneships including four azimuth thrusters, an Octragrabber robot, Starlink, and other satellite dishes as well as power generators.
A Shortfall of Gravitas is the only droneship officially confirmed to be capable of self-propelled autonomous sailing over distances, as showcased in a video released by Elon Musk. Although shown to be capable of sailing by itself, ASOG is still towed to landing sites by a support vessel and only runs autonomously to maintain its position during landing operations, like OCISLY and JRTI.
A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship GSE systems. Photo by Julia Bergeron (NSF), labels added by space-offshore.com
Last Known Location
Track the last known AIS position received from A Shortfall of Gravitas. When the ship is far offshore, this service will not update regularly. Follow @SpaceOffshore across social media for updates!
Length: 90 m / 295 ft (Estimate)
Width: 30m / 98 ft (Estimate)
Joined SpaceX Fleet: 2021