SpaceX Drone Ship - Bahamas and California
(Photo : SpaceX)

SpaceX’s most prolific and veteran drone ship finally departed Port Canaveral several days right after the preparations seem to have begun. It is a few-thousand-mile travel period starting from Florida, with California as the leading destination.

The drone ship is famous for its name — Of Course, I Still Love You (OCISLY).

Its name came from one of the late Iain Banks’ books called “Culture Universe.” This specific drone ship took part in supporting its first Falcon booster landing back in March 2016, and it successfully recovered one booster after two months.

Within the span of five years after its inaugural ocean landing, OCISLY has successfully assisted 52 attempted Falcon booster landings. It also recovered Falcon 9’s first stages 45 times, and all of its recoveries occurred in the deep areas of the Atlantic Ocean.

SpaceX’s Previous Efforts

Before OCISLY’s launch, another drone ship called Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) was transferred from the Port of Los Angeles to Port Canaveral. It was then inspected and gravely upgraded from August 2019 to May 2020.

SpaceX relocated it to give their East Coast fleet a new pair of drone ships, enabling a launch boost that is otherwise unachievable. This decision ultimately allowed SpaceX to use both of the drone ships efficiently.

As a result, they got a total of 35 successful booster recoveries in just 12 months ever since JRTI entered the mission, together with OCISLY on the East Coast.

However, the private space agency once again needs a drone ship on the West Coast to support their rising polar Starlink launches, and missions for the U.S. government. It is essential to know that they just finished two launches outside Vandenberg Air/Space Force Base or VAFB within the last 24 months.

Read Also: SpaceX’s Starlink to Power and Improve In-Flight WiFi, Talks with ‘Several’ Airlines – Aviation Satellite-Powered Internet Coming?

SpaceX’s Target, Plan, and Schedule

According to Teslarati, SpaceX targets one VAFB launch each month. The first phase of the Starlink constellation, 4,400 satellites, will need at least two dozens of dedicated Falcon 9 launches to complete three shells of polar-orbiting spacecraft.

When the constellation is finally hooked with laser interlinks, the polar-orbiting Starlink satellites will officially assist SpaceX in delivering internet anywhere within the Earth’s vicinity. At the same time, they can also start enabling access to rising markets focused on in-flight and maritime connections.

Teslarati mentioned that NextSpaceFlight and SpaceXFleet.com’s Michael Baylor recently confirmed that the OCISLY drone ship would travel to the Bahamas right before flying to the Panama Canal.

Based on his statement, he added that OCISLY would be transferred by a semi-submersible, heavy-lift apparatus called Mighty Servant One.

Despite having usual duties such as lifting numerous stacked barges and building-sized gas and oil equipment, Mighty Servant One will now transport the drone shop throughout the Panama Canal, going to Port of Long Beach.

The reason behind it is not precisely apparent.

However, using a transporter such as Mighty Servant One could expedite the entire journey by at least 30% despite being expensive. It also makes placing a 53-meter-wide barge right through a 55-meter-wide canal easier to process. The trip also allows SpaceX to stay true to their schedule, kicking off West Coast Starlink by July.

Related Article: Sirius XM Digital Radio Satellite Successfully Returned by Falcon 9, Acing Nighttime Landing at Sea

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Written by Fran Sanders

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