Space-X Dragon launch tomorrow

A private rocket is set to launch tomorrow morning to take supplies to the International Space Station.

Press kit with lots of cool pictures here:

I wish them well.

My only “complaint” is that they are talking about ‘cargo only’ for a couple of years before letting people fly it.

Years? Really?

The entire Apollo program ran from 1961-1972 with “Man on the Moon” in 1969. In “years” and at our present level of knowledge, we ought to be checking in to the Space Hotel on the Dark Side Of The Moon…

But hey, it’s a start. Once flights are happening regularly I’d expect volume to build and prices to drop.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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32 Responses to Space-X Dragon launch tomorrow

  1. George says:

    We shot unmanned test vehicles (satellites) and monkeys and such up before we put humans on them. Even with Apollo, it wasn’t until Apollo 7 that they launched people. AS-202, AS-203, and SA-2 (Apollo) , SA-3 (Apollo), SA-5 (Apollo), etc. SA-5 was a Saturn I flight in 1964. So while we were flying early Gemini flights, we were also test flying Saturn / Apollo hardware in parallel.

    Apollo 4 was an unmanned flight in November 1967 which was the first “all up” flight of all the Saturn V hardware at once. Apollo 5 and Apollo 6 were also unmanned. It wasn’t until a year after Apollo 4 that we actually sent a manned mission up with Apollo 5.

    Dragon isn’t going to carry crew until: 1. Its launch pad escape system is built and tested. 2. Its boost phase abort system is built and tested (you don’t need a Launch Escape System for cargo flights: ) 3. Its re-entry system has been tested a few times.

  2. George says:

    “It wasn’t until a year after Apollo 4 that we actually sent a manned mission up with Apollo 5. ” Meant Apollo 7

  3. George says:

    The first Apollo Command module flight was SA-6 flying BP-13 (boilerplate – 13) and was also the first flight of the launch escape system. That was launched on 28 May 1964 which was before the first manned Gemini flight (Gemini 3 which was launched 23 March 1965). So it was some three and a half years between the first flight of the command module and the first manned flight.

  4. George says:

    Also note the Dragon is docking with the ISS and carrying cargo on only its second test flight. This flight was not originally scheduled to dock with the space station, it was only to maneuver in the vicinity of the station and dock on the next flight but apparently the first test went so well that NASA and SpaceX decided to combine the second and third tests into a single flight.

  5. Sera says:

    Live web feed located here- less than 30 minutes…

  6. Sera says:


  7. George says:

    Engine #5 combustion chamber pressure reading too high resulting in automatic shutdown. Next launch window is Tuesday at the earliest.

  8. Sera says:

    @ George:

    Thanks for that link- I had both up and running (mine had better commentary, but yours had better pics).

  9. p.g.sharrow says:

    Even under the best of conditions, Rocket science is an iffy thing. After 50 years of experience, the creation of dependable vehicles out of equipment that must operate on the edge of self destruct, is a chancy thing. Hopefully something better can be developed in the next 50 years as Roman Candle launches into space will always be undependable. pg

  10. p.g.sharrow says:

    the BBC says;”SpaceX says Dragon could be ready to carry people in 2015 at a seat price of $20m (£13m; 16m euros).”
    WOW! $20,000,000, I should get back to work on my device. It would cut 3 zeros off of that and still make 10x profit. pg

  11. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G. YOU ARE RIGHT. Our grandchildren will be surprised of knowing that men used to fly using a metallic tower containing hundreds of tons of an explosive mixture in order to leave the earth. They will see it as crazy. The stubbornness of men incapable of changing the silly paradigm taught by that english gentleman who saw an apple falling down while failed observing the apple tree growing upwards.

    Click to access cosmos_without_gravitation.pdf

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    Just a note that Dragon is not the only one having mechanical isses…

    I now have a car about 80 miles from home that doesn’t turn over. I spent much of yesterday getting help to the car (that is about 30 miles form nowhere) and getting added “umph” into the electrical system. It just oh so slowly tries to turn the engine even with that….

    I think maybe I’ve “spun a bearing”.

    So today I’m leanring about long distance towing… It’s about 90 miles to my mechanic.

    So far it looks like $3 / mile + “hookup” + unspecifired other special charges…

    At any rate, don’t expect to hear much from me for about 24 hours as I’m going to be:

    A) Busy.
    B) AFK.
    C) Away from internet where I was happy to have cell phone service…


    I did get to learn that my little Honda Generator still works (even if it is bit prone to speed hunting on the several year old slighly varnishy smelling fuel in it) and that I still know how to change a battery…

    Also, my “minimal emergency power” kit worked nicely and I got started on the Clancy book “The Bear and the Dragon” while letting the charger run off the generator …

    So, with that, I’m off to see how much money inert iron can consume in the process of reanimation.

  13. Pascvaks says:

    As they say a little farther South, “Via con Dios”. (I think that’s how they spell it;-)

  14. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: It´s “VAYA CON DIOS” (May God accompany you) or plainly: Go with God

  15. Pascvaks says:

    @Adolfo –
    “Mercy Buckets!” (as the Old French in New Orleans say;-)
    Let’s see, looks like I got it about 84.6153846153846153846153846153846% right–if you count the blank spaces too.

    Honest, thanks! Let’s hope they don’t charge Chiefio more to “Accompany” in the Front Seat of the Truck; folks these days want money for everything. And then there’s those California taxes, I hear you can be charged more in taxes the way the NEW MATH is done in that state than the actual cost of the services rendered;-)

  16. Mac the Knife says:

    I see I was not the only one staying up early Saturday morning, to watch (NASA TV feed) the attempted launch of Elon Musk’s Falcon rocket with the Dragon capsule atop! As Maxwell Smart used to say “Missed it by THAT much, Chiefio!” All was not lost however, as the local TV channel was running “Cat Balou” in the 12:00 – 2:30am slot!

    Yes – I’m one of those unrepentant engineers that has worked on and continues to cheer on man’s toddling efforts to lift his children out of this deep gravity well. I’d give my eye teeth and one lower orb to ‘take a couple orbits’ round terra firma and maybe walk on the moon, before I pass the ultimate human event horizon!

    I found myself here, after chasing a link from WUWT to an EM Smith discussion of “Bond Event Zero”. Yikes! Think I’ll go split some more firewood…

  17. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Pascvaks: I contend that such a “mercy” is material too, it is “energetic blessings” if one becomes really conscious of its meaning. That is why some miracle cures are explained.
    The universe is connected and vibrant with electromagnetic “VIBRA” (in spanish).

  18. Pascvaks says:

    Old friend you’re a poet in all things meaningful, “VAYA CON DIOS”. Have a great day.

  19. E.M.Smith says:

    The car was towed to the mechanic. It’s not the battery nor the connections to the battery nor the switching / bendix. We’re down to “engine stuck” ( i.e. something like a spun bearing), or Starter Motor dying / brushes with lousy contact, or bad connectivity in the ground circuit.

    I’m hoping for ‘bad ground’ ;-)

    (Though I did clean the ground from battery to frame, it was a ‘field expedient’ cleaning that still left a fair amount of oxidation on the bolt threads).

    At any rate, I’m a few hundred dollars lighter, had 4 hours sleep last night, and I’m scheduled for an event with family this evening…

    So far no reason to expect markets to change direction tomorrow. So “down continues” until it doesn’t.

    IFF I’m really ambitious I’ll get a summary market posting up tonight. For now it stays “duck and cover” and “only take risk positions with a hedge” (so, for example, if you go long Oil Companies either have “out of the money Puts” behind them or short oil against them. Or if you go long a ‘momentum’ stock, have a ‘short broad market’ ETF to hedge it. Like SH, QID, TWM etc.)

    Eventually we’ll have an up day and it will be time to shift stance, but futures in Asia still negative.

    Oh, and the ‘obligatory mention the main topic when doing an off topic comment :-)

    Wonder when Dragon will be rescheduled?

    And remember: Via con queso!

    ( “Go with cheese”… A friend started saying that back in the days of “Does your dog get enough cheese?” commercials… It’s become a bit of a running joke for us. We’ll occasionally toss it at someone who’s a faux Spanish Speaker and see if the catch it ;-) Also handy when placing orders at Taco Bell…. “I’d like 2 chalupas, and a combo buritto… Vaya con queso!”… Less fun now that many of the servers are native speakers of Spanish. More fun when a Gringo Kid is “posing” ;-)

  20. George says:

    Problem was a bad check valve in the #5 engine plumbing someplace. It’s been fixed, they’ve been testing things, next launch window is something around 3:30 am on Tuesday morning Florida time.

  21. George says:

    Note that the Falcon-9 / Dragon configuration does not have enough fuel for course correction so they must launch at exactly the right time with NO wiggle room. The launch window is 1 second. If they don’t launch in that window, they must wait for things to “come around again” in the proper configuration. Even then will take something like 3 days for Dragon to catch the ISS.

  22. Sera says:

    @ EM:

    Sounds like an episode of ‘Top Gear’. I’ll throw a handful of coin in the beer jar for production costs.

  23. E.M.Smith says:



    Well, now that you mention it, it WAS kind of like that…

    Maybe I ought to write it up in more detail…

    At one point I had two cars both without a battery in them, one not starting no matter what, the other was in fine working order before I started taking it apart, I’d drunk all but one glass of the water, it was quite hot and sunny, and I was wondering how long the spouse would put up with sitting in a car that HAD had working A/C but not at the moment ;-)

    But the battery swap pretty much confirmed not a battery problem. And about 10 minutes later the A/C was back in SWIMBO’s Car. (She Who Must Be Obeyed ;-) While I was standing in the sun lifting lead bricks back into “my” car and wondering if I ought to rinse any battery acid off, or drink the water…. perhaps ‘drink it first‘… but I’d not needed to use the bushes all day so was evaporating water faster than consuming… The better part of valor won, so I used the water to rinse rather than drink.

    Still, it was all “worth it” to assure that I really needed to drop just shy of $400 on a tow truck. After all, if it had started I’d have been done, been richer, and been on my way to L.A. as planned.

    You know, the more I think about it, the more I think it might make a decent ‘tale’…

    But I need to find a way to work in shoving something off a cliff and lighting something on fire ;-)

  24. p.g.sharrow says:

    Yes, change your son for one of his church friends and go with the “theme” no good deed goes unpunished! ;-) pg

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G. Sharrow:

    So you are saying I ought to go build a church in Chicago with the Friend Of Son’s and have him fixing cars while I watch Ranger Rick shove a flaming truck off the cliff? Or did I misunderstand? ;-)

    Details of the story here:

  26. Sera says:

    Weather ballon launched at t minus one hour one minute to determine upper atmosphere wind speeds.

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    Heard on the radio this morning that the launch has happened and Dragon / Falcon is on its way!

    Hooray! We’ve achieved the level of competence of 1965 or so… but in the non-NASA private sector…

  28. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: That´s right! ….just because God is great, settled scientists did not end with a settled down rocket. Hope this time our friend P.G.´s artifact flies before any electromagnetic version of a Sputnick :-)

  29. p.g.sharrow says:

    The Dragon is on its’ way! Hurrah! A real stage coach to the new frontier. Too bad the US has signed a treaty that only governments can sponsor space operations. It is time that an EMF drive is presented to humans, Whether I get mine to move or not is not important.
    I am about a months worth of work before the first “smoke test” of the complete experimental device. pg.

  30. adolfogiurfa says:

    @P.G.: ….and who sponsors governments?, one, two, three, less than ten people?

  31. p.g.sharrow says:

    Governments have guns. pg

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