Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"Rocket Science" and a Successful Falcon 9 Launch

SpaceX added a very positive event to a line of problems and mishaps that occurred recently, from the failed Russian three-satellite launch to more delays in Discovery STS-133 launch, originally set for the end of October, now scheduled for Febuary.

All in all, these recent events show us that even after a space access system has been working for 30 years and more than 60 years after launching the first satellite, getting complex systems or people to space is still, as the saying goes, rocket science.

In contrast, through what looks like a flawless launch, a couple of orbits, reentry, splash-down and recovery, Falcon 9 (overview and comparison to Shuttle and Soyuz here) is on track to fulfilling its contract as a cargo platform to the International Space Station, and later on possibly taxi astronauts as well, ending the Russian monopoly formed by the retirement of the Space Shuttle in 2011.

Here's the SpaceX video of today's launch:

I was very excited to see such a successful demonstration of the new rocket and capsule deployment, both from my personal interest in space and as a part of Astronauts4Hire, where we've also posted a congratulatory post.


Laksen Sirimanne said...

Amnon, did you see the launch? It was spectacular and when SpaceX announced on FB that they could see 3 chutes deployed it was like watching the final few scenes of Apollo 13. You could not help but cheer and be excited. A great day for spaceflight! Laksen

Amnon I. Govrin said...

I saw it on NASA TV. It was even better watching Elon grasping for words later on due to the immense success of this flight...

Unknown said...

I think the best moment when Elon couldn't quite get the words out was here:

Just a moment of pure humanity. A real person who realized the impact of the accomplishments today. Not that NASA is bad or evil, but that emotion is something that I feel like is missing from the Government agency. It was fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

failed to demonstrate solar panels deployment. cheated.. never installed them.less than 100% sucessfull demonstration flight.