by Chris Tobias
In many parts of the world, people ring in the New Year with fireworks. Here in the US though, we tend to prefer watching a glass ball drop (more like slowly descend) in the middle of town while stockpiling our big fireworks displays for the Fourth of July. Personally, I’ve never understood why. I’ve always thought the whole “ball drop” thing would be a lot more exciting if they just cut the cord at midnight and let the whole gorram thing come crashing down to the pavement below!
If, like me, you found that New Year’s ball-drop to be unrewarding and still want to kick off the year with a really spectacular display, SpaceX has just the thing to scratch that itch. Tomorrow morning a Falcon 9 will blast off from Kennedy Space Center at 6:20am EST, carrying an unmanned Dragon capsule into orbit for SpaceX’s fifth resupply mission (CRS-5) to the International Space Station. And as if that weren’t exciting enough, the Falcon 9 carrying the Dragon craft will re-ignite its engines as it falls back to Earth, deploy specially designed legs, and conduct the first landing and recovery of a heavy-lift vehicle on an oceanic platform atop a drone-piloted barge ship in the Atlantic Ocean!
And hey, there will even be a countdown…