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18 May 2012


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Enter the Dragon- apologies to Bruce Lee. The delay was said to be caused by co-ordination b/n Space X & NASA re the docking software.

Tomorrow is X day in a lot of way. Dr. Jack Kruse is also set to reveal "Factor X," which sped up hominid epigenetic adaptation. Kruse is a huge personality in the Paleo(lithic) (kind of lo carb) lifestyle.


Good fortune!


Warmed over neoliberalism...from my perspective. Take what was a govt service, designed to profit no one but the nation...and then privatize it. You will see wink, wink, grants seed money, govt contracts and such, going, opaquely, to private ownership. We (the nation) will pay much of it, they will profit, if it works, they will get the IP too. And license it back to the govt, for their cut.

Just follow the money (with an army of forensic accountants, that we don't have) over the next decade.

Morocco Bama

It looks somewhat like this, jonst, although I'd add to those waiting in line for their turn at the tit.



I will be up and looking at the launch from my balcony. This is truly a game changer and I hope they get it off the ground as scheduled.


Well, that did not work as intended. The engines fired but the rocket did not lift off. It has happened in the past. Usually it is aborted before the countdown goes to zero though.

Hopefully they will figure out what went wrong and try again on Tuesday.

Allen Thomson

I'll note that SpaceX has asked the FAA to perform an environmental impact study on a possible private launch site on the Texas coast east of Brownsville. There's been a bunch of posting on it at the NASASpaceFlight.com site:



Very well said. If we can't find a way to make human spaceflight pay for itself, it's going to remain little better than firing clowns out of cannons.

Looks like it aborted at T-0.5sec due to a potentially dangerous sensor reading in their central engine. I'd rather have a scrub and a fix and a launch a few days later than a launch and a boom any day.



The first profitable "private" space venture will be a Russian zero-G brothel. Eventually mining will be worthwhile, but not until we exhaust benthic manganese nodule mining.

Rocket launches are ecological disasters. They should only be done for compelling collective purpose - science, wonder - because the true price is borne by all (including several generations yet to be born).

Privatization has already gone too far. I hope the pendulum swings back soon.


Looks like they traced the problem to a leaky check valve in the turbopump. If the check valve was leaking in a way that was starving the turbopump of fuel (it usually runs very, very fuel rich), it could have led to overspinning the pumps and melting the turbine itself. That's the kind of issue that can lead to engine auto-cannibalization (ie the engine eating itself).

Glad they caught it on the ground, that sort of failure led a Zenit Sea Launch vehicle a few years back to drop back to the ground after only gaining about 50ft off the ground--the fireball was quite impressive). My only concern is that they didn't catch this in earlier firings. I hope they can find a way to design this issue out in the future.



I should say that last little bit included a fair deal of speculation on my part. Might be right, but might also need to be taken with the appropriate sized grain of salt.

The Twisted Genius


Does the big dumb booster concept hold up today? I remember first hearing about this concept long ago in a story about massive, comparatively crudely built Soviet designs that would essentially just hurl a payload in the general vicinity of where it had to go. The payload would then have to be maneuvered to where it really had to be. Would this be a viable approach for commercial space?


Yes, I agree and I have seen the orange fireball and heard the boom. Gratefully it has been a long time since.

I know quite a few retired NASA people and they all agree that this failure would have caused endless meetings first, if the mission was all theirs.

It appears that SpaceX has already identified the problem and will soon have it fixed, so I am looking forward to getting up very early on Tuesday morning and I will hopefully see a
successful launch.

As with so many in the past, it will be a historic one.


Just a heads-up, but it looks like they're planning on going again in the morning. Unfortunately the T-0 time is now 3:44am Eastern (1:44am for us Mountain time people).

Twisted Genius,
The BDB concept is an intriguing one. My bachelors was in Manufacturing Engineering, so I used to be a big fan. I've since gone over to the reusable side. Sure they're more complex, but getting the hardware back (especially if you make a reusable that you can incrementally test like a prototype airplane) during development can save a fair deal of time. My old company Masten (www.masten.aero) has made a lot of progress on their vertical takeoff and landing reusable rockets over the past 8 years for only about $5M so far. That's about half a day's budget for NASA's Marshal Spaceflight Center for comparison.



It was a beautiful launch on a very clear night. This is the beginning of a new era in the space program and SpaceX should be congratulated for their rapid progress.


They freakin did it! Well, the first and scariest part of "it" at least. The real acid test is going to be the "proximity operations" part which starts on Thursday. That's the delicate dance where Dragon maneuvers around the station and demonstrates that it's safe enough to approach. And then the actual approach and "berthing" (when the robot arm reaches out and hooks it to the station).

But it was great. Now I have to go try and get back to sleep...


The Twisted Genius

"They freakin did it!"

I love seeing rocket scientists react this way. It does remind me of the old days. Here's a link to the SpaceX video of the launch through the deployment of the solar array on the Dragon capsule. Watch it through the entire 14 minutes and enjoy the reaction of the crew at the end. Congratulations to SpaceX.




I invite you to send me a piece to post after the docking tomorrow. If you don't I will write something enthusiastic but ignorant. pl



The docking won't be till Friday, but I'd love to do a short article (either tomorrow on the launch and first two days of the mission or on Friday after the docking event).




Send me an e-mail address offline at ismoot@turcopolier.com and I will send you a guest author invitation. pl

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