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An autonomous spaceport drone ship is an ocean-going vessel derived from a deck barge, outfitted with station-keeping engines and a large landing platform. Construction of such ships was commissioned by aerospace company SpaceX to allow for recovery of rocket first-stages at sea for high-velocity missions which do not carry enough fuel to return to the launch site after lofting spacecraft onto an orbital trajectory.

Autonomous spaceport drone ships of SpaceX
CRS-8 (26239020092).jpg
Drone ship Of Course I Still Love You carries the first rocket stage ever landed at sea (Falcon 9 FT, CRS-8 mission, 8 April 2016).
Launch site
Location
Short name ASDS
Operator SpaceX
Launch pad(s) 2 oceangoing landing platforms
Just Read the Instructions landing history
Status Active
Landings 4 (1 success, 3 failures)
First landing 10 January 2015 (CRS-5 mission)
Last landing 14 January 2017 (Iridium NEXT mission)
Associated
rockets
Of Course I Still Love You landing history
Status Active
Landings 6 (4 successes, 2 failures)
First landing 4 March 2016 (SES-9 mission)
Last landing 14 August 2016 (JCSAT-16 mission)
Associated
rockets
Falcon 9 Full Thrust

An autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) is an ocean-going vessel derived from a deck barge, outfitted with station-keeping engines and a large landing platform. Construction of such ships was commissioned by aerospace company SpaceX to allow for recovery of rocket first-stages at sea for high-velocity missions which do not carry enough fuel to return to the launch site after lofting spacecraft onto an orbital trajectory.

SpaceX has two operational drone ships, the Just Read the Instructions in the Pacific Ocean for launches from Vandenberg and the Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic for launches from Cape Canaveral. As of January 2017, ten Falcon 9 flights have attempted to land on a drone ship, with five of them succeeding: the first successful attempt being the CRS-8 mission in April 2016.

The ASDS ships are a key component of the SpaceX reusable launch system development program which aims to significantly lower the price of space launch services through "full and rapid reusability." Any flights going to geostationary orbit or exceeding escape velocity will require landing at sea, encompassing about half of SpaceX missions.

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Video found from a facebook page, since taken down.

CRS-8 | First Stage Landing on Droneship