SpaceX, the aerospace company of billionaire Elon Musk, recently unveiled photographs of a flat open-deck barge that has been converted into a floating platform for recovering expendable space rockets following their return to Earth.
The converted vessel is Marmac 302, an ABS-classed, 300- by 170-foot (91- by 52-metre) cargo barge originally built in 2012. The barge has been renamed A Shortfall of Gravitas after a fictional spacecraft created by Scottish science fiction writer Iain M. Banks.
Among the vessel’s new features are an autonomous positioning system and four 300hp (220kw) azimuth thrusters that will be used primarily for station keeping.
A Shortfall of Gravitas will join sister barge Just Read the Instructions at Port Canaveral, Florida, to support SpaceX’s rocket recovery operations on the US East Coast.
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