by Jeff Cunningham
Less than an hour ago, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 enjoyed a picture-perfect liftoff from launch pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida–so perfect, in fact, that NASA’s own commentator on the live press feed couldn’t help but remark at how quiet everything was in the absense of problems or glitches to chatter about in SpaceX’s launch control room.
I pulled off of the highway in Orlando to watch the show, and was not disappointed. I don’t know if it’s anything to do with the design or their chosen propellant (experts are free to chime in in the comments below, don’t be a stranger), but the Falcon 9 burns a lot whiter than I remember the shuttle doing. Now that I think about it, it was something kind of like the color of its namesake’s engine wash:
We’re still waiting for word on whether the first stage’s landing was as successful. Last we heard, SpaceX reported that weather over the oceans off the coast of Jacksonville isn’t as clear as it was at the landing site, so they may have to simply “soft land” it in the ocean. Prior to the launch, Musk tweeted that the barge is due for some upgrades to allow it to withstand stormy seas better:
While we wait for word (and, Buddha willing, video footage) of the landing, now’s a good time to take five minutes to write a letter to Elon to tell him that it’d be friggin’ awesome if he were to name the first manned Dragon spacecraft Serenity. We also have a petition you can write, or, failing all that, his Twitter feed is right there. Tag us if you do at @TakeBacktheSky.