It’s been a busy summer for SpaceX, and this month will be no exception. One might say the beginning of August will have its ups and downs for Elon Musk and company– quite literally– with the CRS-15 mission drawing to a close and the launch of yet another satellite.
SpaceX’s Dragon will return to Earth this weekend after spending more than a month berthed at the International Space Station, signaling the end of the CRS-15 mission. The capsule is scheduled for splashdown south of the Port of Los Angeles on Friday, August 3. Should an alternative landing date be deemed necessary, Dragon’s return could be postponed until Sunday, August 5, with splashdown occuring in the same general area. Once recovered, Dragon will be brought back to the Port of Los Angeles for the unloading of any time-sensitive cargo. The remainder of Dragon’s cargo will be unloaded once the capsule has arrived at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
And on Tuesday, August 7, SpaceX plans to launch a Falcon 9 from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Falcon will be carrying the Merah Putih (Telkom-4) communications satellite, which will provide coverage to Indonesia and India. Liftoff is scheduled for 1:19am, EDT (5:19 UTC). The Falcon 9 that will be used for this upcoming mission previously flew for the Bangabandhu-1 mission. The Merah Putih satellite will be placed in a Geostationary Transfer Orbit, and the Falcon 9’s first stage will be recovered once again, with a landing planned in the Atlantic Ocean on SpaceX’s drone ship Of Course I Still Love You.
Those who would like to watch the launch can tune in to spacex.com or the company’s YouTube channel. SpaceX’s webcasts typically begin around 20 minutes before liftoff.
Peace, love and rockets…
Steven “Swanny” Swanson
Years ago, a young man found himself about to finish grad school, and began to contemplate his career path in life for the first time. He knew that he wanted to be in a field in science and technology–which was fitting, given that his bachelor’s was in Engineering Physics and that the advanced degree he was about to earn was in Computer Systems.
Finding one’s passion is one of the easier–and more enjoyable–pursuits in life, but finding a way to make a productive career out of it is something that precious few among us are fortunate enough to achieve (and even fewer now with the loss of so many of the jobs that people go to college for). The more the young man thought about it, the more sure he became aware that he was not content to spend the rest of his life “sitting in an office all day long every day.” Long before he would be eventually be introduced to the ‘Verse, this much he knew: he aimed to misbehave. From there, deciding to become an astronaut almost seemed like the logical course. He had no idea if such a thing would really prove possible in the end–but doing the impossible makes us mighty. Continue Reading
Howdy. Chris here. This post is going to be a little off the beaten path from what we usually do here at Take Back the Sky, but as an educator, I wanted to share something that affected me very deeply, both personally and professionally. I hope you don’t mind.
It has been a little over a year since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut that claimed the lives of 26 of the school’s students and teachers. Like many people, I was deeply affected by the event, more so than by any other like it before or since. I think this was not only because of the young age of many of the victims, but also because teachers gave their lives in an effort to protect their students.
It’s unfortunate that so much controversy arose in the wake of the Newtown shooting. All the debate about gun control vs. Americans’ right to keep and bear arms and the media’s coverage of incidents like this (and those who perpetrate them) vs. Americans’ right to free speech can sometimes cause us to lose sight of the real human tragedy. Like most Americans, I have very strong feelings about those issues, but it is not my intention to discuss them here. Instead, I want to talk about a project I undertook to pay tribute to those students and teachers who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary, a project I dubbed “The 26 for 26 Project.”
I let my wife Richelle choose the destination of our family vacation this year. I figured she’d more than earned that right. After all, she had been willing to let me go off to a major con in Philadelphia for four days in late spring, and had put up with my taking over the job of organizing Pittsburgh’s annual Can’t Stop the Serenity events. She also agreed with the idea of our traveling to Germany next summer with a group of my students and their parents instead of taking a family vacation.
When she said she’d like to go to Houston, Texas for a few days to visit her sister Laurie and her family, I was on board without hesitation. My previous experiences in Texas were overwhelmingly positive, and I enjoy spending time with Laurie, her husband Steve and their two kids, who are both about the same age as my son. Since this would be the first time we visited them since they moved to Houston from Austin, I was also looking forward to seeing what the city of Houston had to offer, and I was especially enthusiastic about the prospect of visiting the Johnson Space Center. Continue Reading
Sunday, June 2 was the final day of Wizard World Philadelphia and the shortest day of the con. We had already been working at the Take Back the Sky table for three days, and our crew had seen pretty much everything the event had to offer. The Firefly panel and my photo op with Summer Glau had already taken place the previous day. Truthfully, my expectations for Sunday were somewhat low. We’d collect a few more signatures for our online petition and letters to Elon Musk asking him and SpaceX to name the next US spacecraft Serenity, say goodbye to our new friends from the PA and NY Browncoats, pack up the vehicle, and head home. That is, of course, exactly what happened, but along the way Sunday would become the most memorable day of the con for me.