Ni hao, travelers! Jeff here, back from a lengthy, profession-induced hiatus, on the air once more. We’ve discussed at length here and in person at cons how real-life voyages out into the black have been inspired by the art of science-fiction. Recent events, however, have opened my eyes to a subtle phenomenon in sci-fi that’s been going on in plain sight, yet has gone unnoticed. Continue Reading
On Wednesday, SpaceX announced via its social media presence that the company is sending its first mission to the red planet as soon as 2018. They intend to land an unmanned Dragon spacecraft on the surface of Mars as a demonstration and to “inform [our] overall Mars architecture.”
Ni hao, travelers,
We’re pushing this out there to make sure no one misses that the launch this weekend has been delayed at least into next week, no firm date yet.
There’s nothing wrong with the Falcon rocket or Dragon craft, the onus for this actually lies with the United States Air Force and range issues. For those of you playing the home game, “range issues” refer to things like tracking radar and sensors “downrange” that track the rockets lifting off from Kennedy Space Center from after takeoff as it ascends over the Atlantic. There apparently was a fire at the USAF radar station in question on Monday, and it seems they never really finished fixing the dish that caused said fire when it shorted out.
The announcement comes as an Atlas V rocket carrying a national security payload on a different pad had to be delayed for the same reasons.
SpaceX is still keeping their live feed up in case their big miracle happens, and will no doubt have the new “T-0” launch time up the moment they decide on it. In the meantime, we wouldn’t want to rob you of rocket goodness, so enjoy this footage of the previous CRS-2 launch:
This coming weekend is another launch for SpaceX, the developers of the revolutionary Falcon rocket (which they freely admit to naming after the Millenium Falcon) and the Dragon spacecraft that’s the focus of our campaign here at Take Back the Sky. This particular flight, however, could be called their most important one to date for a number of reasons. Most people don’t keep up with this stuff anymore, so we’re devoting today’s installment to giving you some background before the weekend’s fireworks.
Spotlight: Is Space too Expensive?
We’ve brought up this fantastic tumblr feed before, started and run by a great guy we used to work with in the X-Prize foundation who’s now with Virgin Galactic. It’s starting to make some real waves on the internet, and this recent entry is just one example why–just what does something in your bathroom have to do with the Falcon rocket that (dependent upon your writing a letter) will take up the ship we’re getting named Serenity?
Falcon 9 CRS-2 Launch
Earlier today, SpaceX posted the following to their Twitter feed and other social media sites:
Posted just before 6 PM, EST, Jan. 16
Okay, so it’s not exactly a formal poll–but that doesn’t mean that a throng of Browncoats loudly proclaiming “a Dragon named Serenity!” won’t be heard or noticed. Now is the time for all of you to strike while the iron is hot and exercise the power of Ridiculously Large Numbers of People on the Internet (the scientific effect observed when Nathan Fillion tweets something) and be heard.
We admit, this alone won’t get our beloved ship into the Black, but it’s just too good an opportunity to pass up. So, reply to SpaceX’s tweet or to their Facebook status to say “A Dragon named Serenity!” or something to that effect, followed by the hashtag #takebackthesky .
Good luck, and we’ll keep you posted.
Jeff here, Take Back the Sky‘s resident rocket scientist. Those of you who were tuning in with us over the past week for the launch of the Falcon 9 and the SES-8 satellite but aren’t familiar with “the way of things” in the space business may feel a little put-out and running out of patience with the multiple false starts. Those of us who’ve always been space advocates and those of us who live in Florida understand, though, that, for rocket scientists and astronauts, re-scheduling launches, or “scrubbing,” is a fact of life. Having a rocket, whether it’s a Falcon or the space shuttle take off on the first try is actually kind of rare. Continue Reading
Those of you who have heard the occasional news bite about SpaceX’s efforts may have heard Elon Musk openly state that the Dragon’s true purpose for which it was designed all along has been to eventually travel to the planet Mars. You may be looking at the capsule spacecraft and find that the word that comes to your mind is “dinky.” Just how can a ship no larger than the Apollo capsule that took three men in very cramped quarters take that same crew all the way to the red planet without them coming down with the worst case of cabin fever in history? Continue Reading