I’ve been meaning to start a thread about the maritime component of Space X’s operations for a long time. I was fascinated by the landing platforms when they first rolled out, but I haven’t seen any other discussion on this forum since ~2016.
All I’ve been able to dig up is that they’re running L3 software and the hardware was designed and built by Thrustmaster of Texas. I know SEACOR was running the Mr. Steven, but it’s now named Guice Offshore Ms. Tree.
I brought a ship to San Pedro and saw ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ from across the terminal. It appeared that they re-skin the entire deck after each landing, so I can’t imagine these barges are manned.
Is the DP system remotely operated from a standby vessel or from shore via satellite link?
Maybe @jdcavo can shed some light on how these vessels even have a COI or are classed?
I also realize that the US government is allowing Space X to shoot rockets into space commercially, so perhaps USCG rules don’t even apply.
I’m amazed there’s not more information on these barges considering they represent the technical and regulatory framework for the inevitable future of shore-based automated vessel control.
I don’t know about the self-propelled (DP III??) barges used by Space X to recover rockets, but there is/was a company called Sealaunch S.A. A The company was HQ in Switzerland, but was owned by a combination of US (Boing), Russian (Energia) Norwegian (Kvaerner/Aker) and Ukrainian (Zenit Rockets):
They launched rockets from a contraption called LP Odyssey (Former drilling rig Ocean Odyssey, built for ODECO in Japan in 1983 and converted in Norway in 1997)
The launching was done in the Pacific, but the LP Odyssey and it’s transport/command ship was stationed in Long Beach CA between launches.
I met one of the original OIMs on the LP Odyssey. (He was then OIM on the Polar Pioneer) He told me that they abandoned the LP Odyssey during launching and transferred to the command ship. From there they could control the DP system via radio link.
Not unthinkable that he took some ideas with him across.
It was seatran. I believe guice leased the boat at first. Guice has had a long relationship with spacex supporting their east coast ops.
On the left coast is the nrc quest which coincidentally was a seacor boat in a former life. Its original intent was to soley recover the dragon cargo capsules, but when ‘of course i still love you’ was supporting the falcon recoveries from vandenberg, nrcquest handled the personnel transfers. The ‘drone ships’ are not manned except for a crew prepping them once on site and after the fact securing the rocket.