By Earnest Jones  |  03-24-2017   News
Photo credit: Stephen Marr

An odd piece of equipment was spotted on top of the SpaceX’s drone ship at Canaveral. The device was spotted by Stephen Marr on Monday. Being a space and social media lover, he posted it online. Shortly after the post, Reddit users quickly moved Marr's clear, high-resolution photo to the top of the website's SpaceX community.

They started a discussion on what the object was likely to be used for. It emerged that there was a great likelihood that it was the anticipated robot that would interact with Falcon 9 first stages.

Some people nicknamed the robot as Optimus Prime. The robot could one day secure the first stages of the Falcon 9 after they land on SpaceX's autonomous spaceport drone ships.

The robot was likely to cut down on costs, the number of required personnel and turnaround time between launches.The robot could also be used in improving safety.

The term Optimus Prime refers to a character from Transformers.

The senior director of launch operations for SpaceX, Ricky Lim, said that the device is in the testing phase and is a future capability that SpaceX plans to introduce as soon as it passes the test regimen.Lim revealed that the device is not very far away from being used, adding that it’s a new device. However, SpaceX did not comment when asked about its functionality and features.

The Senior director of launch operations for SpaceX also revealed that SpaceX doesn’t yet have an official name for the robot.Marr took the photo of the robot with a telephoto lens during a six-minute helicopter tour of the Space Coast. Tiffany Guerin, who is Marr's girlfriend, is a professional photographer and was with him during the tour.Marr and Guerin made a decision to move to Cocoa Beach from Tennessee six weeks ago after fostering a love for space.

Marr expressed his love for Space, adding that he’s excited to watch SpaceX do the things they do. He also pointed out to the projects that SpaceX is pursuing such as Blue Origin which is coming up.SpaceX's next mission will be very exciting. It will be the first time the company attempts to fly a used, or flight proven, Falcon 9 first stage.

This will bring CEO Elon Musk's vision for rocket reusability. The rocket was first flown nearly a year ago in April 2016 on the CRS-8 resupply mission to the International Space Station.

The rocket had the SES-10, which is a commercial communications satellite built by Airbus Space and Defense for Luxembourg-based SES.SpaceX will attempt to land the flight proven first stage on the "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.

SOURCE:

http://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/03/22/spacex-equipment-spotted-port-canaveral-florida-falcon9-reddit-drone-ship-ses10-kennedy-space-center/99457762/

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