ABS signs joint development project with SpaceX on recovery droneships

Patrick Ryan, Senior Vice President, Global Engineering and Technology at ABS

ABS has signed a joint development project (JDP) with SpaceX to review the remotely controlled functions of autonomous rocket recovery droneships used for booster rocket recovery at sea. The rocket recovery droneships are modified to include an expanded deck to increase the size of the landing platform, four thruster engines for propulsion and to hold on station, and blast shielding to protect electrical and engine equipment on deck.

What are the specifics of the project agreement?

The droneships are unmanned during landings, with a robot deployed on board to secure the rocket booster to the droneship before the vessel returns to port. The project will review the design of one of SpaceX’s three rocket recovery droneships for compliance with the ABS Guide for Autonomous and Remote-Control Functions. Due to the challenging operating needs, ABS will apply a risk-based approach to the evaluation of the autonomous functions.

“Through our work on autonomous and remote-control technologies in projects with leading partners all over the world, ABS has been leading the way in supporting its practical application at sea,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS SVP, Global Engineering and Technology.

“This makes us ideally placed to work with SpaceX on its exciting project. We are proud that our capabilities in this area have been recognized by a true pioneer such as SpaceX.”

What is the market offering of ABS?

ABS is a world leader in supporting the development of autonomous and remote-control functions at sea. A remotely operated harbor tug developed by Keppel Offshore & Marine was the first in the world to receive the ABS REMOTE-CON Notation in October 2021.

Get a copy of the ABS Guide for Autonomous and Remote-Control Functions here.