For having a Falcon 9 (almost) land on it, the SpaceX barge doesn't seem to have faired too badly:

enter image description here

Click for full version

In June 2015 the first model barge was replaced, and here is an image of the deck of that barge:

enter image description here

It doesn't look like it's coated with just asphalt, and it certainly isn't wood (although it almost seems like one can see wood grain on top). What material is the top of this barge coated with?

  • $\begingroup$ One small comment: Falcon had a camera with live feed from stage 2. Why there is no live feed from this barge? $\endgroup$
    – ilya1725
    Apr 21, 2015 at 23:30
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ @ilya1725 That's not a comment, but a new question. I suggest that you ask it as such. My understanding is (and that could be wrong) that there's no direct broadcast link. SpaceX did request the use of two additional channels from FCC for the previous landing attempt, but they'd have to request that again each time. It might not have been approved for both (high bandwidth stream + telemetry), or they might not have been able to establish a direct uplink to their broadcaster, only telemetry to their flight controllers. Or lease expired,... $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Apr 22, 2015 at 0:16
  • $\begingroup$ Some of the original technical specifications for the Marmac 300 - the vessel on which the ASDS is based - can be found here, though they don't mention materials, and are most likely out of date, thanks to any modifications by SpaceX. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868
    Apr 22, 2015 at 0:17
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 And Marmac 300 JRTI ASDS is retired. Marmac 304 will be getting the mind transplant and I added an image above in the question. Marmac 303 has the wings cut off Marmac 300, and is headed to the Panama Canal for transit to the Pacific, assumed to be OCISLY (Of Course I Still Love You). $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Jun 9, 2015 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


The Marmac 300 barge, which was modified into ASDS JRTI is made out of steel.

There has been a lot of modelling and debate in the NasaSpaceflight.com forums trying to estimate how thick. Current thinking seems to come out around 25-35mm (1 inch to a bit thicker) steel.

The heat load of a landing stage is not really that high. A single Merlin 1D at 70% thrust, for only a few seconds (2-3) on the surface is not enough to do a lot of damage.

Elon Musk tweeted that the fun stuff after the stage landed, being an uncontained burn, was just a fast fire and not an explosion.

  • $\begingroup$ What's all the black debris on deck? $\endgroup$
    – Mazura
    Apr 22, 2015 at 2:42
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @Mazura Fried first stage, with a salt water crust. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Apr 22, 2015 at 3:14
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ @geoffc Lightly garnished with the tears of rocket scientists. $\endgroup$ Apr 29, 2015 at 12:10
  • $\begingroup$ @CraigTrader Follow "TheDroneShip" on Twitter, he has some very pithy lines. $\endgroup$
    – geoffc
    Apr 29, 2015 at 12:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.