Doug at Port Canaveral – Jenny Hautmann / Supercluster
Doug is a SpaceX dual-purpose support vessel based at Port Canaveral, Florida. Alongside identical twin ship Bob, both vessels are designed for both fairing and booster recovery operations. Doug is named after Doug Hurley, one of the first two NASA astronauts to fly on SpaceX’s Dragon capsule during the Demo-2 mission.
Doug was converted from a former platform supply ship – a kind of mini cargo ship designed to serve offshore platforms – from May to August 2021 in Louisiana. Doug was retro-fitted with a winch, enabling it to tow SpaceX droneships. The vessel is also capable of recovering and storing four Falcon fairing halves on deck, using a large crane. A fast boat (Either Maverick or Goose) is deployable from the vessel to support recovery operations.
The design of Bob and Doug’s fairing recovery crane system was likely influenced by a vessel that SpaceX chartered for a few months in early 2021. The Shelia Bordelon vessel was equipped with a large crane that could be used to hook and lift Falcon fairing halves from the water effectively. Prior to this, SpaceX was pursing a catching solution where it would attempt to steer recovery vessels Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief underneath falling fairing halves and catch them with a giant net, before they hit the water.
Ms. Tree and Ms. Chief’s catching solution would ultimately prove unreliable despite SpaceX pursuing the idea for several years. SpaceX dropped plans to catch fairing halves in 2021, shifting plans to use their new vessels Bob and Doug to recover fairing halves with large cranes.
Bob, ASOG and Doug at sea – SpaceX
Last Known Location
Track the last known AIS position received from Doug. When the ship is far offshore, this service will not update regularly. Follow @SpaceOffshore across social media for updates!
Year Built: 2009
Joined SpaceX Fleet: 2021