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A Shortfall of Gravitas

SpaceX

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‘, from author Iain M. Banks’s Culture series.

A Shortfall of Gravitas was first announced in 2018 by Elon Musk. A further update 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. 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, tweeting 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. The first mission for ASOG was CRS-23 on August 29th, 2021, which concluded with a successful landing of B1061, close to the center.

ASOG has often been dubbed droneship design 3.0 by commentators as it features a more refined design than SpaceX’s other droneships with support equipment boxed into dedicated housing. The ground support equipment on ASOG is entirely located on the aft end of the droneship which creates 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 shares very similar features to other droneships including four azimuth thrusters, an Octagrabber robot, communication dishes, firefighting houses, and electrical/engine power.

A Shortfall of Gravitas is currently the only droneship officially confirmed to be capable of self-propelled autonomous sailing which was showcased in a video released by Elon Musk. Although shown to be capable of this function, ASOG is still currently towed to landing sites by a support vessel and only runs autonomously to maintain its fixed 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!

Vital Statistics

Operator: SpaceX 

Length: 90 m / 295 ft

Breadth: 40m / 130 ft (Estimated)

Joined SpaceX Fleet: 2021

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