Elon Musk will name his next drone ship 'A Shortfall of Gravitas'

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SpaceX's autonomous spaceport drone ship, for ocean rocket landings.

Last week, the world watched as SpaceX launched their Falcon Heavy rocket with a Tesla Roadster stowed aboard. They've developed two series of the special discs; one resides in Musk's personal library, and the other is now rocketing through space in a car's glovebox.

A Shortfall of Gravitas is the second SpaceX drone ship to be based at the East Coast location, but it's actually the third of its kind, with the other ship - Just Read the Instructions - based on the West Coast to facilitate launches from the Vandenberg Air Force Base.

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. Following the launch, two of the spacecraft's three rockets landed simultaneously at Cape Canaveral Air Force Base's landing Zone 1, but the main core was destroyed as it attempted to land on the drone ship "Of Course I Still Love You".

After the Falcon Heavy launch, from Kennedy Space Center, the rocket's the rocket's center core missed the Of Course I Still Love You ship by about 300 feet, but the force created by its 300 miles per hour water impact damaged the ship's two engines. According to Musk, the core didn't have enough ignition fluid to light the two outer engines of the booster for its final approach to the ship.

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The fix, he said, was "pretty obvious".

Musk emphasized before and after the launch, success was never guaranteed. The first test flight of that ship on a Falcon 9 rocket is also expected in 2018.

Perhaps NASA should just get on the SpaceX waiting list for a new rocket. MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY Makr and Linda Guinn from Minnesota were part of the crowd in Cape Canaveral. Rather than landing on shore, the center booster was supposed to touch down on a remote droneship hanging out off the coast. As far as the two boosters that did touch down successfully, SpaceX revealed that they are not planning to reuse those in the future.

"It seems surreal to me", Musk said during a news conference after the launch.

Elon Musk chose to send his red Tesla sports vehicle into orbit, complete with a space-suited mannequin in the driver's seat and David Bowie's 1969 hit "Space Oddity" playing on a loop on the stereo.

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