Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster, which was launched to orbit through SpaceX's most powerful rocket to date, the Falcon Heavy, is now heading further into space at a blistering 12 kilometers per second relative to Earth. The presence of a second drone ship will give SpaceX much more flexibility in plotting out future Falcon Heavy launches and recoveries, with it then possible to have the side boosters land at sea simultaneously.
The need for a third drone ship has arisen because of the increasing number of launches SpaceX is managing for NASA and other contractors. " The ship will be used off of the East Coast of the United States to support launches of the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, he said".
What's in store for Musk and his space flight business after SpaceX proved that the Falcon Heavy can fly?
SpaceX's first Falcon Heavy rocket soars into space on February 6, 2018 after a successful debut launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. "Just Read the Instructions" is in the Pacific for launches from Vandenberg, and "Of Course I Still Love You" in the Atlantic for launches from Cape Canaveral.
The 1.37 minute clip not only captures a picture-perfect launch of the world's most powerful rocket, but also the recovery of two side boosters in a simultaneous, controlled landing. "Fix is pretty obvious".
The ship appears to be named in honor of the fictional spaceship "Experiencing A Significant Gravitas Shortfall" in the science fiction books "Look to Windward" and "Matter" by the late author Iain M. Banks. Currently, Of Course I Still Love You is present at Port Canaveral and has successfully recovered many Falcon 9 boosters for reuse.
"[It] was enough to take out two thrusters [on the drone ship] and shower the deck with shrapnel", Musk revealed.
In the meantime, SpaceX still has a full slate of Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launches on tap in 2018. Hispasat 30W-6, a commercial communications satellite, will be boosted to a geostationary transfer orbit.