SpaceX’s drone aircraft, of course, I still love you. It was put into use in 2015 in Port Canaveral, Florida as an East Coast rocket landing platform for the Falcon 9 launch. (Image source: SpaceX) Cape Canaveral, Florida
-SpaceX’s most prolific drone spacecraft has arrived on the west coast.
Falcon 9 Rocket Floating Landing Pad “Of course I still love you” (or OCISLY) left Port Canaveral on June 10, changing the coast to support SpaceX’s growing launch business. Currently, there are very few flights from the launch facility of the California-based company, but this situation is about to change.
OCISLY and its tugboat, Mr. Jonah, said goodbye to Florida and set sail from the port to the other side of the country during a voyage of several weeks. The whole trip went smoothly, the only dangerous part was crossing the Panama Canal. According to canal officials, the unmanned ship was so large that a semi-submersible transport ship had to help it pass through the canal.
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Some OCISLY fans on the road cheered and took photos of the trip.
An excited audience (and officials working in the Panama Canal) shared the ship’s journey on Twitter on June 25 and watched it pass through the canal.
After a 26-day journey, the huge ship drone arrived at its final destination: Long Beach Port. OCISLY arrived at the port on the deck of a larger ship, called Mighty Servant 1, just in time for the first Internet Starlink satellite mission planned by SpaceX sometime in July.
Duel drone ship
In 2020, SpaceX ushered in a landmark year, the company launched a record 26 rockets, of which only one is from Florida. In the next few years, SpaceX plans to increase its launch business on the West Coast as the company is working hard to complete its Super Starlink satellite constellation.
broadband satellites are part of the company’s efforts to reach the world through the Internet. To this end, SpaceX announced that it will launch some flights on the polar path from the Vandenberg Space Force base to provide services to these customers in high latitudes.
This is where OCISLY comes in. Currently the only way to recover the booster in Vandenberg is to land the first stage on the ground, but this requires sufficient fuel reserves for the Falcon 9. In order to facilitate capture and reuse, SpaceX needs to build an unmanned ship near the west coast.