If you thought SpaceX’s launch of the X-37B was the stuff of conspiracy theorists’ dreams, consider the upcoming launch from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida on Wednesday, November 15.
The mission, dubbed “Falcon 9 Zuma,” has a projected liftoff time of 8:00pm EST and a launch window that stretches from 8:00pm to 10:00pm EST. Following the launch, the Falcon 9’s first stage will attempt a landing at Landing Zone 1 (LZ1) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
That’s it. That’s all we know. No other information about the launch, the payload or the overall mission is available. The rocket might as well have “TOP SECRET” painted on its side.
River Tam: Storm’s getting worse.
Mal Reynolds: We’ll pass through it soon enough.
Today’s attempt by SpaceX to launch a Falcon 9 carrying a Dragon capsule to the International Space Station on the sixth commercial resupply mission to the ISS had to be scrubbed just a few minutes before liftoff because of weather concerns.
Those who watched the launch attempt live online probably scratched their heads at the announcement, given the beautiful blue sky and white, fluffy clouds that served as the backdrop for the rocket as it sat on the launch pad. The real danger, however, was a front of dark, well-developed cumulonimbus “anvil” clouds that were within ten miles of the launch site. There were also some reports of distant lightning strikes within the ten-mile limit in the run-up to the launch window, and it is standard procedure to scrub a launch under such conditions.
The next launch attempt will be tomorrow, Tuesday, April 14, just after 4:10pm EDT. In all fairness, though, tomorrow’s weather currently only looks to be 50% go for launch, whereas today’s was 60% just a short time before the scrub had to be called.
And yet, the way we see it, there was a lot to feel positive about today.
Take Back the Sky will make its first con appearance of 2015 this Saturday, April 11 at MegaCon in Orlando, Florida.
Jeff Cunningham, Take Back the Sky’s co-founder and resident rocket scientist, will be at MegaCon all day Saturday, from 10 AM to 6 PM. Jeff and his crew will be at D & B Comics‘ spacious corner booth, number 550. They’ll be collecting signatures for our petition, promoting our “Leaf on the Wind” campaign and answering questions about how Browncoats and others who care about the future of manned space flight can take action to help convince SpaceX to name the first of their manned Dragon V2 spacecraft Serenity. They’ll even have templates on hand that will make it really easy for you to write your very own letter to Elon Musk.
Of course, our Take Back the Sky crew is also looking forward to having the chance to meet “fellow geeks” and simply enjoy the con experience. It’s always really shiny just to talk to those in attendance about Firefly, Serenity, science-fiction in general and all things related to space and the space industry.
And to make the first con of the season something special, we’re conjurin’ a very special giveaway. One lucky person who writes a letter to Elon Musk at our table asking him to name the first manned Dragon Serenity will win a shiny metal print of a screen shot of Summer Glau (Firefly’s River Tam) and Emily Bett-Rickards (Felicity Smoak from the hit CW television series Arrow), courtesy of summerglau.com.
In order to be eligible to win the print, all you have to do is write a letter at our table asking Elon Musk to name SpaceX’s first manned Dragon Serenity, and then “Like” D & B Comics on Facebook. To learn more about the contest, just stop by the D & B Comics table on Saturday and ask about the Take Back the Sky giveaway.
And speaking of D & B Comics, we’d like to thank our shiny sponsors for making it possible for us to appear at MegaCon this year. Please show them your support the next time you’re in the market for any of Dark Horse Comics’ Firefly and Serenity books, or any other comics-related merch.
We hope to see you at MegaCon this Saturday, April 11. Until then… peace, love and rockets!
River Tam: Storm’s getting worse.
Malcolm Reynolds: We’ll pass through it soon enough.
— Serenity (2005)
When I got word via Twitter just before 2am this morning that the Falcon 9 launch of the SpaceX Dragon to the International Space Station had been scrubbed due to inclement weather, I somewhat disappointedly shut my laptop and shuffled off to bed. Anyone who’s followed rocket launches, or sports for that matter, knows how unpredictable Florida weather can be, especially this time of year. Storms can pop up seemingly out of nowhere, and it often seems like clear skies are the exception rather than the norm. For those of us who were looking forward to the excitement of watching a night launch, it was simply a matter of resigning ourselves to tuning in around 24 hours later and hoping for better luck with tonight’s (technically tomorrow morning’s) second attempt at 1:52am EST. SpaceX has had a tremendous record recently with regards to their turnaround time between launches. This morning’s scrub was nothing unusual when it comes to the business of launching rockets, and I doubt it will break SpaceX’s stride in the least way.
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.
Prior to Wizard World Philadelphia my experience working a table at a large public gathering was mainly restricted to fundraising. I’d worked carnival-style games at community day events while raising money for the high school fencing team I used to coach, and of course I’d helped run a game at Pittsburgh’s Can’t Stop the Serenity event for the past two years. Manning the table at Wizard World Philly was really very much the same, except the object was to convince people to put pen to paper instead of handing over their cash. (They would still have plenty of other opportunities to do that at the con. I swear when I got home from Philadelphia my ATM card was still hot to the touch! Not that I’m complaining. I came home with a lot of very shiny original artwork.)
Jeff mentioned in a previous post that you shouldn’t feel like you’re “stuck behind the table” when working at a con, and that it’s actually a way to enhance your convention experience. I could not agree more. Continue Reading