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The SpaceX Launch Was Pretty Awesome

I am not a super big space geek, but I can appreciate great moments when I see them, and the SpaceX launch yesterday was just one of those moments.  I was disappointed on Wednesday when they cancelled the launch, but totally understand the safety reasons.  Yesterday I was busy doing some work outside when I happened to look at my phone about five minutes before the launch and was reminded about it.

I decided that would be a good time for a break and propped my phone up on the bookshelf outside to watch it.  It was really interesting to hear them talk about the last few steps they were taking before the launch.  Admittedly, I found myself worried that something would happen to prevent the launch such a weather or a mechanical issue.

Then in the last minute or so I was afraid there would be something catastrophic and Bob and Doug would lose their lives.  A risk that I know they were aware of, and that even Elon Musk addressed with their kids before the launch.  It is easy to forget the dangers of some of the things we do when they become a little more common.

I loved hearing the radio communications as they ran through their checklists in such a calm and professional manner, while there had to be a tremendous amount of concern with so many people watching.

Then when they hit zero on the countdown you could hear the excitement in her voice, and it seemed so personal and real as she wished them luck on their journey.  The whole thing may have been scripted, but it sounded like a very real response to the excitement of the moment.

As I watched the rocket shoot into the sky, I couldn’t help but get a little emotional.  I wasn’t crying like a baby, but I did get some tears in my eyes as I watched such a great accomplishment.  There is just something inspiring about watching people chase their dreams an accomplish great things.

I really hope that they continue down the designated path of getting back to the moon and on to Mars.  Not because I have any understanding of what each of those missions will entail, or because I understand the benefits it could have, but because it is an opportunity for us to pursue great things and set lofty goals.  It has always been what made America great, and is something we need in our lives again.

As I was watching the playback with my kids last night my 7 year old daughter said, “I wish I could work at NASA.”  I don’t think her uncertainty was because of the challenge of getting there, but more because she doesn’t yet realize that she can do anything she wants if she is willing to put in the work and effort to get there.

I am glad I was there to tell her that she can totally go work at NASA if she wants.  I don’t know if she will actually want to go that route, but I am grateful for Bob and Doug, NASA, and SpaceX for reminding us all that great things can be accomplished when we work together towards big dreams.

May 31, 2020 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

The Do-It-Yourself Space Program…For Real

The launch barge Sputnik where all of the magic takes place.  It's no Cape Canaveral, but it gets the job done.

The launch barge Sputnik where all of the magic takes place. It’s no Cape Canaveral, but it gets the job done.

There aren’t many people in this world that haven’t at least dreamt about going to space at some time in their lives.  It is one of those things that tickles the imagination so much that most of us view it as being completely impossible.  For most of us, it probably is.  But, there are some opportunities out there.

For those of you that happen to have an extra $200,000 lying around, there is always the Virgin Galactic route.  As I understand it, they will bring space travel to pretty much anyone willing to pony up the money.  However,

for those people who can’t afford it, or who are willingly to do a whole lot of work for it, there may be another option.

There are a couple of guys in Copenhagen, Denmark who are planning to launch themselves into space.  There names are Kristian von Bengtson and Peter Madsen, and they dreamed about going into space their whole lives.  The closest they got in the corporate world was when Kristian was working as a contractor for NASA.  So they did what any normal person would do, they started their own space program, Copenhagen Suborbitals.

The Nautilus submarine pushes the launch pad out to the launch site.  Not exactly the giant NASA crawlers, but very cool.

The Nautilus submarine pushes the launch pad out to the launch site. Not exactly the giant NASA crawlers, but very cool.

You could spend hours learning about these amazing guys from their blog on Wired.com, from their official launch site, or even from a great interview that my friend Nate McIntyre did with these crazy Danes.  But, what is really amazing about these guys is how they are going about it.

The are using crowdfunding to generate revenue, which has already led to about half a million dollars in donations.  It comes back to the idea that small contributions from large numbers of people can lead to a substantial amount of money.  As impressive as that is, I am even more impressed by the fact that they are doing everything open source.

They are opening up all of their technology and research to anyone who wants to use it.  They strongly encourage other people to outright copy them.  See these guys aren’t interested in making money, they just really want to go to space, and help other people to do the same.  They are everything that is great about dreamers who are also doers.

They have already performed a number of launches with varying degrees of success with their next launch set for this Sunday June 23,

A future test rocket in production.

A future test rocket in production.

if the weather holds out.  The launch will be live streamed on oooojoooo.com starting at around 6 PM Pacific Time, June 22nd/8 AM Copenhagen Time, June 23rd.

If you could go into space on a DIY spaceship, would you do it?

The ability to do anything you can dream of is the real wonder of this story, so what other kinds of experimental things would you like to build or explore?

June 20, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Boeing Begins NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Study

Boeing is one of five contractors selected to develop a mission concept to demonstrate solar electric propulsion technologies, capabilities and the infrastructure required to affordably sustain a human presence in space. Phantom Works will conduct the study in Huntington Beach with support from Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems electric power and propulsion experts in El Segundo, Calif.
Advanced solar array and electric thruster technologies to be tested in future demonstrations
Boeing Begins NASA Solar Electric Propulsion Study

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Jan. 11, 2012 — The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has begun work on a four-month NASA contract to develop a mission concept study for solar electric propulsion technologies. Under the $600,000 firm, fixed-price contract, Boeing will evaluate concepts that combine high-power solar arrays with advanced electric thrusters to power spacecraft and payloads to high Earth orbit and deep space destinations.

“Boeing pioneered the use of electric propulsion, and has developed an approach to integrate compact, lightweight, and highly efficient solar arrays with next-generation electric thrusters in future spacecraft,” said Steve Johnston, director of Boeing Phantom Works’ Advanced Space Exploration division. “This technology offers weight and cost advantages while enabling increased on-orbit maneuverability for satellites in Earth orbit, and efficient deep space transportation for human exploration and robotic science missions.”

Boeing is one of five contractors selected to develop a mission concept to demonstrate solar electric propulsion technologies, capabilities and the infrastructure required to affordably sustain a human presence in space. Phantom Works will conduct the study in Huntington Beach with support from Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems electric power and propulsion experts in El Segundo, Calif.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $32 billion business with 63,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.

January 22, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.