Monday, September 30, 2013

Space vision

Some cool voyages to space occurred in the last week or so. The Cygnus spacecraft launched and after a bit of trouble docked with the ISS. A major milestone on the second flight for this company. SpaceX launched a new and improved Falcon9. They redesigned the engine structure on the 1st stage, built the second stage to refire to put satellites into higher orbits, modified the first stage to refire to control re-entry, and to fire again to slow the vehicle down for splashdown - what will eventually become a soft landing on launchpad!  The Russian proton rocket came roaring back to life after a failed flight previously.

The SpaceX mission was much more though. They have displayed their vision for all the world to see. Posting YouTube videos of the so-called grasshopper flights, engine tests, test firing of the Falcon9 on the pad and showing mini documentaries of their facilities. They have 2 launch facilities and have started airing the launches complete with commentary on the web. They communicate so well, its actually really hard to not feel like I am on the journey to revolutionize spaceflight with them!

Elon (we havent met but I follow him on twitter) communicates happenings on the missions and his passion is on display. So even when the 1st stage, announced to have a low probability of success, failed ... he told us the WHY. He also told us what he thinks ... paraphrasing: we have enough data to figure this out.

The 1st stage went into a spin and centrifuged fuel such the main engine cut off early. They salvaged pieces of the 1st stage out of the ocean. Why do I even know that! It should be a company secret until some report comes out mindlessly explaining away the perceived failure as if you have to succeed at everything all the time no matter what.

They want us along for the ride and I, for one, am hooked. I am rooting for them like they are the underdog. And they are anything but. They are exciting because of the innovation and the passion they put on display. It is authentic.

It was a lot like when the Mars Curiosity Mission landed. The adrenaline and the excitement and thrill of victory! We did it!

I got to ride to space and sit in the company of the CEO,  watch his vision for spaceflight and his company unfold with narration (its a stretch but thats how it felt) ... and I did it from MY COUCH! Again. Like it was the first time. And it was awesome!