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05 February 2018


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That probably read: Jetzt ist der Mann im Mond ein Ami.


Notice I hated this German type of music: Schlager. Thus I missed an important bit of German Popular Art. ;)



A lot of people here on the Space Coast, including me, will be watching with interest. I hope they are successful, even if history says something different. These are complicated missions.


Well, I am excited!

I'll use the Crystal Gayle song "We Must Believe in Magic."

"We must believe in magic. We must believe in the guiding hand. If you believe in magic, you have the universe at your command."

Now I know many of you will say it's science, technology, engineering, etc. But to an English literature and linguistics major, it's magic. Definitions are strange things: is Venus the morning star or the evening star?

I am so saddened that at my age, I will most likely never get my ticket to ride on a ship that will take me out of the Earth's atmosphere.


In the spirit of the thing, how about a picture of Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden with the speech balloon saying, "To the Moon Elon! To the Moon!"
More realistically though, this is a proof of concept experiment for industrial scale rocketry. The original Apollo program rockets were almost purpose built machines. The older satellite launching rockets, like the Delta, were re-purposed ICBMs. This is a civilian use mass producible, multi configurable launch platform. Something like what the Araine system was intended to be. With the major added feature of reusability of the main stage. Cost of pound per payload placed in orbit suddenly drops into a feasible range. If the package works only halfway, the experiment will have been successful. The bugs will get ironed out. Just look at how many times the VfR had their payloads fall short, onto, unfortunately, places like Rotterdam and London before, under new management, they finally got something into orbit. (I include both Western and Soviet 'space' programs here because VfR alums figured prominently in both. As my Dad used to say; "The Americans picked the top minds up while the Russians got the 'Second Brain' with all the technicians and artisans from Peenemunde.")
Here's to good weather at the Cape tomorrow.


The newspaper headline you refer to was probably from the Bild Zeitung, 21 of July 1969, and reads as follows:
"The Moon is now an Ami (American),we are looking now into a crater almost the size of a football field". The above headline was a quote from a NASA technician, that's what it says in the article.
This is a link to a website with photos of the original article:
All the best of luck for the launch tomorrow!



I remember it being in the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung. pl


I hope I don't get banned for going "off topic" BUT is there any chance the Colonel will explain why it's taking so long for the Turkish forces to seize Afrin???

Are they bogged down?

I believe this is Day 13



The TAF are not fighting well. They have not fought anyone since Korea and the Erdogan purges probably have not helped. I noted that several thousand Kurdish fighter rallied yesterday at Kobani before departing for Afrin. That should make life even more interesting for the Turks. pl


Good post. And thanks for the link. I share the opinion regarding discontinuing the Saturn launch vehicle stated by James French, the aerospace engineer quoted in the linked article. Saturn, designed and built well over 50 years ago, could at that time launch two thirds of the claimed capacity of Musk's new Falcon Heavy. Imagine what Saturn could have lifted if we had continued to improve it instead of abandoning it.

I admire Musk, but even if the launch tomorrow is successful, it is far from proving that his ship can lift the 70 tons claimed. The Tesla roadster he is putting into space weighs what - 1.5 tons perhaps? How many years before he can prove the 70 ton to LEO capacity? If it takes a decade he will be outstripped by Russia's Energia-5V, China's Long March 9, or NASA's SLS-Block2, all of which will double the lift capacity Falcon Heavy.


Plantman and PL:

My understanding is that Turkish jihadi proxies are doing the bulk of the fighting on the ground. The TAF itself is only providing air, armor, artillery, and a tiny amount of special forces. I don't think they are going to win a war by using liver-eaters and head-choppers. And I guess we now need to add 'bosom-cleavers' or 'nipple-slicers' to their street creds.


Just a few comments for clarification--

--Technically, the Tesla Roadster is going into a solar orbit with enough range to cross the orbit of Mars. It is not being put into an orbit around the planet Mars. Musk just intends to prove that the Falcon Heavy can take payloads to Mars.

--If successful, this will be the first time a private company (non-governmental entity) has launched something beyond geosynchronous Earth orbit.

--It should be interested to watch (again, if successful), as the three cores of the rocket (essentially three Falcon 9 cores) all land back in the general area of the launch. Two will land near simultaneously on the Cape about 8-9 minutes after launch, and the main core will land, I've heard, a bit later on a platform at sea. Not sure about that last bit, but it was reported in one place.

--Recovering the three main cores is what makes Falcon Heavy so cheap. Two of the cores on this flight are refurbished from previous flights. Falcon Heavy is about one-third the cost of a fully outfitted Delta IV Heavy.

--The Falcon Heavy will be the most powerful rocket to fly since the Saturn V (assuming success).

--Interestingly, the Falcon Heavy is already kind of past its prime. It has been delayed 5 years, and in the meanwhile, the Falcon 9 has trippled it's payload weight capability as they've improved that single-core rocket, eating into the types of missions that Falcon Heavy was meant to fly. On the other hand, Falcon Heavy doesn't have quite enough power to fly large payloads to the Moon or Mars--small payloads, sure. But a manned mission to the Moon would take two Falcon Heavies, and couldn't be done with just one. SpaceX's Big Falcon Rocket (BFR)--say that really fast to get an idea of what they really called it in development--will have lift capability far beyond the Saturn V and will be able to shuttle very heavy payloads to the Moon and Mars. The BFR rocket has been designed, and is a single core, but actual work on it has not yet begun.

If BFR comes out in 5 years, the Falcon Heavy might have a very short lifetime. If it takes BFR 10 years to be produced, maybe then the Falcon Heavy will be a needed part of our space plans.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really looking forward to this flight--it should be awesome, and will add a really important capability to our space systems. More info at the ArsTechnica article here:




They are losing tanks. Do the FSA jihadis have tanks? pl


One thing that is interesting to me is what affect this will have on the long term future of the SLS, also sometimes referred to as the Senate Launch System whose first flight is scheduled to be no earlier than 2019. The performance of the first version of the SLS and the Falcon heavy are comparable in that the payload mass that the rockets can deliver to low Earth orbit are respectively 63,000 and 70,000 kilograms. Later versions are planned to be capable of sending there satellite with twice the mass, but who knows when that will be.

The Falcon Heavy though is much cheaper, Space X quotes a price of 90 million dollars to send a payload to Geostationary orbit, while the SLS a price tag of may be around a billion, though I get the impression that this cost is to send
something to the Moon or beyond so the comparison is not exact. Still it appears that the Falcon Heavy will be much cheaper and a big use for the Falcon Heavy could be for sending unmanned scientific crafts to the outer planets which
would shave years off the travel time from using current rockets.


-Two will land near simultaneously on the Cape about 8-9 minutes after launch, and the main core will land, I've heard, a bit later on a platform at sea.

Elon has provided animation of the mission:

--Interestingly, the Falcon Heavy is already kind of past its prime.
I agree and think its like the Airbus A-380. For a short time it was the queen of the skies, but technology caught up to it(better and more efficient engines on other AC,etc).

There are already two other flights on the books for FH for this year, a satellite for ARABSAT and a Nasa's STP-2 mission.

With any luck, my son who is an aerospace engineering major will be near the Cape to watch and hear this. (cutting classes approved).

Been waiting and cant wait the 1 last day.


while i love to dream about humanities future in space this seems to be getting ahead of itself.

calling a reusable orbiter interplanetary travel is like calling walking to your mailbox international travel


I believe I mentioned in comment #9 above that the TAF was providing armor. I assume that means Turkish crew. It is the jihadi proxies that have been doing the infantry job, but even they have been given Turkish Army unit designations.

I agree with your comment that the purges have had a deleteious effect on the TAF. Army officers chosen for their political loyalty have never done a good job IMO. But I note that one of your Turkish correspondents (Ishmael Z?) recently stated that a few of the purged generals and field grades are being returned to service.

But getting back on topic - I see that the South korean space program's KSLV-2 is using SpaceX as a role model. Boeing &should do the same for the SLS Space Launch System, but is probably too big and too risk averse.

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

I wish these space guy god speed


Humanity's future comes one step at a time.

I'm turning 70, and I'm amazed at how far we've come during my lifetime. The space programs provide us with, I think, the happiest news we get for this troubled planet.


The crossroads of the West:

-establish civilization across the stars


-continue to babysit functional retards unable to establish a functional civilization

Which way, Western Man?

Babak Makkinejad

That is what I am saying.
Could we please have the Great Lakes once you decamp from this planet?


For those who want to watch it live tomorrow, ArsTechnica.com usually has a link from their front page. Or you can go directly to SpaceX's live YouTube channel:


I believe launch is intended at 1:30 PM Eastern Time, 10:30 AM Pacific Time tomorrow/Tuesday, so tune in a half hour or so ahead of that.

different clue

Babak Makkinejad,

( reply to comment 20)

We, the Earthside Remainers of Great Lakestan, would probably object to your request for the Great Lakes.

Account Deleted

I'd advise you to be wary if assigned to 'B' Ark, especially if it is scheduled to be sent off first.


It's off, wow!


Beautiful launch!

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