An autonomous spaceport drone ship (ASDS) is an ocean-going vessel derived from a deck barge, outfitted with station-keeping engines and a large landing platform. Construction of such ships was commissioned by aerospace company SpaceX to allow for recovery of rocket first-stages at sea for high-velocity missions which do not carry enough fuel to return to the launch site after lofting spacecraft onto an orbital trajectory.
SpaceX has two operational drone ships: Just Read the Instructions in the Pacific for launches from Vandenberg, and Of Course I Still Love You in the Atlantic for launches from Cape Canaveral. As of 25 June 2017, thirteen Falcon 9 flights have attempted to land on a drone ship, with eight of them succeeding, the first successful attempt being the CRS-8 mission in April 2016.
The ASDS ships are a key component of the SpaceX reusable launch system development program which aims to significantly lower the price of space launch services through “full and rapid reusability.” Any flights going to geostationary orbit or exceeding escape velocity will require landing at sea, encompassing about half of SpaceX missions.
There is a body of films featuring drones (unmanned aerial vehicles). The Hollywood Reporter wrote in February 2016, “There has been no shortage of films dealing with drones over the last few years… audiences have recently had the occasion to explore a form of modern warfare whose true repercussions are yet to be fully understood, let alone divulged to the general public.” The Wall Street Journal’s Caryn James said of drone technology, “Movies and television shows increasingly grapple with those unprecedented aspects of war,” highlighting Good Kill’s release in 2015. James said, “These new films and shows have to keep the action going in situation rooms full of computers, rather than in trenches and on battlefields. And they address moral and strategic questions that old-fashioned World War II movies never had to.”
Henry Barnes wrote in The Guardian in April 2016, “In real life, drone warfare has prompted protests, legal action and revolt. Until now, films about drones haven’t properly engaged in the debate. They either forget there’s someone at the controls, emphasising the alien nature of a remote, robotic death, or, like London Has Fallen, use drones as just another weapon in the arsenal; a cool tool to make bigger, badder bangs.” Barnes highlighted Eye in the Sky (2015) as an example of “one of the first drone movies to work in the grey areas” of drone warfare.
GoPro, Inc. (marketed as GoPro and sometimes stylised as GoPRO) is an American technology company founded in 2002 by Nick Woodman. It manufactures eponymous action cameras and develops its own mobile apps and video-editing software.
Founded as Woodman Labs, Inc, the company eventually focused on the connected sports genre, developing its line of action cameras and, later, video editing software. It also developed a quadcopter drone, Karma, released in October 2016.
In October 2016, before the release of “Karma” quadcopter drone, GoPro released the GoPro “HERO 5” and “HERO 5 Session”
Nixie is a small camera-equipped drone that can be worn as a wrist band. Nixie can be activated to unfold into a quadcopter, fly in one of its pre-programmed modes to take photos or a video, and then return to the user. Competing against more than 500 other participants, Nixie’s developers became the winning team in the development track of the Intel’s Make It Wearable competition on November 3, 2014, thus securing $500,000 in seed funding to develop Nixie into a product. The developers stated their goal to develop the drone into the next generation of point-and-shoot cameras.
As of March 2016, the device was in development and was not commercially available.