USA Return To Manned Launch #2

Today SpaceX is attempting (Again) a launch from NASA Pad 39-A of the Crew Dragon with 2 crew on board. One, Doug Hurley, was on the last shuttle flight when we ceased being a space faring nation for about a decade (so far…).

It is nice to see we’re (finally) getting back to the business of manned space flight. No longer dependent on renting rides from Russia. This time for sure!

Lots of tech details here:

SpaceX Feed:

Everyday Astronaut from 3 miles away (i.e. close):

NASA Feed:

PBS Coverage:

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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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14 Responses to USA Return To Manned Launch #2

  1. E.M.Smith says:

    Suited up and on their way to the pad. About 3 hours to lift off, if all goes well.

  2. A C Osborn says:

    EM, I wonder how much effort it would take to make the Boeing X37 capable of carrying a crew?
    It has been and still is operating very successfully and it compares well with the size of the SpaceX dragon.

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Physically doing it would not be hard. Make a module to load in the cargo area that holds a person and life support gear. Making it “man rated” via testing and all would be an issue, then the view would be crummy… and not having any control would limit what you can do in a tin can…

    FWIW, weather is go, arm retracted, abort system armed. Next if fuel load and then 40 minutes of nail biting ;-)

  4. Compu Gator says:

    NWS WSR-88D radar at Melbourne [@]: (the “loop” parameter displays only 8 steps or so).

    Ca. 13:50 EDT (17:50 GMT), I see a few tiny storms crossing the Intracoastal Waterway and nearing the Cape, but regionally pretty much clear, aside a few tiny storms moving out of the way S.W. of the Cape, and a small thunderstorm reported back in Tampa. That said, some tiny storms are already blossoming into existence out of the ground scatter. Beware that we can have cloudy skies where it looks clear on the radar.

    Orlando overhead now seems to be a haze-dulled pale blue, altho’ KMCO [✈] describes it as “partly cloudy”. Quite a change from the big summer-style clouds I saw overhead an hour or so ago. I haven’t yethad an opportunity to go far enough outside here that I have a clear view of the E. sky.

    Ah! But this might be the best current-conditions site for out-of-towners: “Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Skid Strip (KXMR)”:
    As of 13:56 EDT (17:56 GMT), it’s reporting “a few clouds”.

    No more time for details; I need to get my camera and find extra batteries.

    Note @ : KMLB is nominally the NWS “local forecast office” for E.-Cen.-Fla., but I think of it as the (in-state) regional office & weather-radar for us here within the closest eyeball range for launches from the Cape [@@]. Melbourne is in coastal Brevard Co., as is the Cape, which is only 10–20 mi. N. of Melbourne i.I.r.c.

    Note @@ : Locals around here never ask “what Cape?”

    Note ✈ : KMCO, the NWS station at OIA (i.e., the former McCoy Air Force Base):
    My usual KORL has been down since yesterday. (The symbol I’ve used as the reference-mark for this note is Unicode U+2708 &#9992.)

  5. Compu Gator says:

    E.M., help!?  I just posted a reply with URLs for very-local waether & radar. Did it get stuck in moderation? It’s certainly highly time sensitive!

  6. Compu Gator says:

    Ooops!  Sorry.  It appeared. I’m uptight because I’d planned to be out my door to my viewing site 7 min. ago.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, the USA is once again a space faring nation with our own ability to put people on orbit! Everything went just right!

  8. pouncer says:

    The routine landing of the un-crewed first stage back on an un-crewed barge is — perhaps justifiably — not making much news because it’s been done a lot with cargo launches. But crewed rockets have before now always had bits drop off, burn up, and scatter pieces into the ocean.

    Progress is cool

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    The Donald flew in to watch the launch. Here’s his speech to the folks after the launch:

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Crew now onboard space station.

  11. John Robertson says:

    I keep hearing that the next big hazard to overcome is Hard radiation.
    The proposed moon base and travel between planets,both face this hazard to the crews.
    Genetic damage and mutant offspring.
    So don’t send young people,send those past their biological best before dates.
    There are an awful lot of skilled people that would welcome weightlessness or 1/6 gravity at this point in life.
    Not to mention a whole different attitude toward death by unforseen factors, or death for that matter.

  12. philjourdan says:

    Many of us are old enough to remember the old Mercury, Gemini and Apollo launches. When we sat in front a B&W TV looking at a picture that you could not see any real details. It was almost like listening to radio.

    Yesterday showed how far we have come in other ways as we saw the astronauts inside the capsule and a very clear easily discernible picture of the actual launch! It was very gratifying. I just wish they would talk less now that we can see more.

  13. Compu Gator says:

    pouncer replied 30 May 2020 at 8:31 pm GMT:
    The routine landing of the un-crewed first stage back on an un-crewed barge is–perhaps justifiably–not making much news because it’s been done a lot with cargo launches. But crewed rockets have before now always had bits drop off, burn up, and scatter pieces into the ocean.

    I agree with ‘pouncer’: Landing the lower stages of rockets was something that the NASA of the “Moon Race“, and the uninspiringly named “shuttle”, never attempted. During those times, people’s memories of sci-fi rockets landing vertically on their fins, notably in the 1950 movie Destination Moon, were dismissed as either too risky or practically impossible.

    To be fair, it would’ve been 1-or-2 more challenges whose technical issues and training would be needed to be solved. The technology necessary for synchronizing the descent of an un-crewed first stage with an un-crewed landing-barge, whether by radio control (e.g., from a helicopter aloft), or computer control, might not have been available in those years. And that challenge was approached in the context of the “Space Race“–tempus fugit!  Especially because of the Soviet penchant for surprises–they announced only their successful flights, and then only after the cosmonauts had returned safely [∆]. With the politically savvy space-flight fan Lyndon Johnson having been automatically promoted to President of the U.S.A. (after the assassination of Jack Kennedy in 1963 [×]), NASA wouldn’t need to justify routinely discarding so much expensive rocket parts during a flight. Besides which, the U.S.A. still had its globally ranging blue-water navy from World War II, so NASA could accomodate lots of slop in where their astronauts returned, if they designed their space-craft, under parachutes, to splash-down in sea-water. Then the U.S. Navy could just go get them. It seems reasonable for there to have been hopes that landing in sea-water could help the astronauts survive minor failures in their parachutes. Except that a deep plunge would put many pounds (or kg.) of water pressure on the craft, compressing the volume of its flotation equipment, thus ruining its buoyancy, crushing the craft itself, and likely sending it and its helpless astronauts to the bottom.

    Our competition in the “Space Race“, the Soviet Union, remained the land-based power that they had been in World War II, as they had been for at least 2 centuries, with zillions of sparsely inhabited acres (or sq. km.). Their cosmonauts were also returned in their “space-craft” under parachutes, but over land. Only after the publicized “Break-Up of the Soviet Union” were researchers from “The Decadent West” able to learn that there had been several failures of their manned flights, whose entire flights were added to their state secrets. Including parachutes that fouled or otherwise failed, making their helpless cosmonauts into unavoidably dead meat.

    Destination Moon, via
    (Full size 1440 × 900.; scaled 1079 × 674 on my monitor; “99 KB (101,376 bytes)”). Or at least I hope the still appears here.

    Note ∆: The lack of Soviet-propaganda updates on their orbiting cosmocanine “Laika” seems to have gone unnoticed by a marvelling world back then. Khruschëv wanted another “space first” for his propaganda, by sending some
    live animal into orbit. Sergéi “Chief Designer” Korolëv, who had been summoned to the Kremlin for the occasion, suggested a dog, which immediately captured Khruschëv’s imagination. But the latter set a deadline only months away (something like an upcoming anniversary of the Revolution, or a Party Congress). So Korolëv took shortcuts, including skipping testing, and overworked his engineers & techs. But he did meet the deadline, and the Soviets did enjoy yet another “space first” for their propaganda. Never mind poor “Laika“!  It actually died in orbit: Baked to death when its capsule’s air-conditioning failed, either completely, or just unable to compensate for accumulating heat from solar radiation.

    Note ×: Naaah, let’s not go there (altho’ I understand that this ain’t my blog).

  14. Compu Gator says:

    In accordance with a previous remedial posting by E.M.:,
    I consulted, § ”Images in comments”. The latter refers to WordPress comments, which for other Internet forums might be called replies. Ahhh, silly me!  The section heading does not refer to embedding HTML comments in WordPress. Sooo, I try again:

    Manned rocket-ship, as landed vertically on its tail. Destination Moon (1950). Image 28/36 via
    (Full-size image: 1440 × 900.; scaled 1079 × 674 on my monitor; “99 KB (101,376 bytes)”).

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