Of Course I Still Love You
Of Course I Still Love You berthing at Port Canaveral with a Falcon 9 booster – SpaceX
Of Course I Still Love You (OCISLY) is a SpaceX autonomous spaceport droneship (ASDS) that is operated out of the Port of Long Beach, California. Of Course I Still Love You droneship was previously based in Florida from 2015 to 2021.
Of Course I Still Love You is named after a spacecraft from ‘The Player of Games‘, a novel from author Iain M. Banks’s Culture series.
The droneship is a modified barge that is outfitted with a large landing platform, station-keeping thrusters, and other equipment to allow SpaceX to land Falcon boosters at sea on high-velocity missions that cannot carry enough fuel to allow for a return-to-launch-site landing.
Construction of OCISLY started in early 2015 in Louisiana before entering service in Florida in June 2015. The droneship was built as a replacement for the original experimental droneship, Just Read The Instructions.
OCISLY is built upon a barge – Marmac 304 – which was modified in a shipyard. Modifications include an expanded deck to increase the size of the landing platform, the installation of 4 thruster engines so the droneship can autonomously maintain its position at sea, and blast shielding to protect electrical and engine equipment on deck.
OCISLY stern, showing generators, thrusters and other equipment – Julia Bergeron
Of Course I Still Love You is equipped with four azimuth thrusters that are fitted to each corner of the landing platform. When deployed, they allow the droneship to maintain a precise position whilst at sea. Elon Musk has stated that the droneship is capable of maintaining its target position to within 3 meters, even under storm conditions. The droneship can reportedly maintain its position autonomously, or under remote control by operators on a support ship.
The droneship is fitted with cameras, sensors, and other measuring equipment to allow SpaceX to record and gather data on landings. On a number of occasions, it has been shown that these cameras can be remotely adjusted and moved during landings to provide a better perspective.
OCISLY arrives at Port Canaveral – SpaceX
Of Course I Still Love You is fitted with multiple satellite antennas, including Starlink dishes, for the uplink of data and for communication with the incoming booster. The droneship is also equipped with remotely-operated firefighting hoses that can quickly deluge the droneship in water in the event of an explosion or fire caused by a failed landing.
A robot, officially named the Falcon 9 Securing Robot, but universally known as Octagrabber lives on the droneship and is deployed shortly after a booster landing. The robot is remotely driven from its blast-proof shelter and positioned underneath the Falcon 9. Four arms then raise up and latch onto the Falcon 9 octaweb, securing the booster for transit.
Of Course I Still Love You droneship is not designed to autonomously sail over long distances. Instead, a tugboat is used to tow the droneship to the target position offshore. The exact position of the droneship is dependent on mission requirements.
Falcon boosters used on Starlink and geostationary transfer orbit missions typically land between 600 – 675 km downrange but the droneship position can extend to over 1200 km downrange from the launch pad for the most demanding missions.
OCISLY and the tugboat will leave port up to five days in advance of the launch date, with other accompanying support ships leaving later. After traveling to the landing zone the thrusters and other equipment will be engaged. Support vessels and the tugboat will then retreat to a safe distance to observe the landing. Of Course I Still Love You is unmanned during all landings.
Once the landing is complete, Octagrabber will be deployed to secure the booster and SpaceX technicians will disengage the thrusters and prepare the droneship for the return journey. The tugboat will then tow OCISLY back to port for unloading of the booster.
West Coast Move
SpaceX repositioned Of Course I Still Love You from Port Canaveral, Florida, to the Port of Long Beach, California in June 2021.
Until 2019, Just Read the Instructions droneship operated on the US West Coast but was then repositioned to operate from Florida. This left SpaceX without a droneship in California which was not a big issue as the launch rate here was heavily subsiding.
By 2021, plans were changing and SpaceX was planning a ramp-up of the launch rate on the US West Coast, to support Starlink deployment launches, meaning a droneship was now required here again. The company elected to move OCISLY droneship from Florida, replacing it with A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship, which was brand new at the time.
To reposition the droneship as fast as possible, OCISLY was loaded onto a heavy-lift vessel named Mighty Servant 1 (MS1). To complete the loading, the heavy lift vessel intentionally partially submerged itself, allowing OCISLY to sail over the top before the combined unit was raised from the water.
MS1 carried OCISLY across the Panama Canal and onto the Port of Long Beach. OCISLY has operated from this site since mid-2021.
OCISLY crosses the Panama Canal – Panama Canal
What a trip!— Gav Cornwell 🚢 (@SpaceXFleet) July 8, 2021
OCISLY droneship East Coast ➡ West Coast transit. June 10th - July 8th, 2021.
Photos from @NASASpaceflight, Dr. and Mrs Vacation and the Panama Canal itself.
1. Leaving Florida, 2. Loading at Freeport. 3. Panama Crossing 4. Unload in California. pic.twitter.com/NHYs1hLxYK
Last Known Location
Length: 90 m / 295 ft (Estimate)
Width: 30m / 98 ft (Estimate)
Joined SpaceX Fleet: 2015