SpaceX drone ship heads eastbound

PANAMA CANAL: August 19, 2019. After traveling more than 3500 miles from the Port of Los Angeles, the SpaceX autonomous spaceport drone ship Just Read The Instructions (JRTI) began its transit through the Panama Canal this week, roughly two-thirds of the way to either Port of Brownsville, Texas or Port Canaveral, Florida.

JRTI left Los Angeles at the end of July under tow behind tugboat Alice C (pictured) and arrived at the Canal on August 15  – joining a line of vessels waiting to transit. The SpaceX drone ship is expected to arrive at its new home on the US East or Gulf Coast between August 27 and 31.

In Florida SpaceX has from seven to nine Falcon 9 launches scheduled in Q4 2019 while on the Gulf Coast SpaceX has established a Starship development facility in Boca Chica, Texas, a few miles north of the southernmost tip of the continental United States.

A full-scale, low-fidelity prototype known as Starhopper completed its first test flight on July 25 and is likely just days away from a second test flight.

Meanwhile, SpaceX Boca Chica is simultaneously assembling what CEO Elon Musk has described as the “Mk1” orbital Starship prototype and is reportedly making rapid progress.

Musk founded SpaceX in 2002 to design, manufacture and launch advanced rockets and spacecraft with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.