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SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon Launch Webcast (starts at 12:00am PDT) (spacex.com)
370 points by alex1 on May 22, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 206 comments



I don't think we'll ever know how hard it was for a private space startup to convince NASA and the international community to let them dock with the ISS and to work with them to make it happen. Elon Musk is a legend.


Elon Musk is a legend.

... and an inspiration!

I'm done with CRUD-ing my life away. It's time to tackle some hard problems.


Also grinning like an idiot for the past hour. Really made my day, ecstatic that it's been successful.

I think I'm still young enough (26) to retrain. I'm not a US citzen, but screw it. This is the future, and I will be a part of it.


Mission control in 1969: http://i.imgur.com/Siqi6.jpg

Mission control in 2012: http://i.imgur.com/xevZj.jpg


So, today, I could run mission control out of any office park in the world with sufficient space and quality IP connectivity to either my own antenna farm or the Deep Space Network.

This is indeed the future I was promised as a child.


That guy's playing Galaga. Anyone else see that?


Think of the difference in density of data displayed in info/cm^2. I'd bet one of those 3 screen sets conveys more than was visible in the entire room in 1969.


If they angle was different you could see the really huge monitors they'll have at the front of the room, so there's that at least. At least I assume so, the other mission control rooms I've been in have them and they have less people than this one.


The 2012 picture looks like a hacker convention or big lan party... something set up in a temporary space.


'69 looks more futuristic somehow.


In '69 all those huge monitors, telemetry displays, and cool panels were high tech. They built a room that screams "I am the future!". Today, all that stuff is commodity hardware that could just as easily be put to the task of playing some computer game or buying shoes as launching a spacecraft. And it inhabits a perfectly normal looking, functional room.


Yes. Its worth noting that the '69 room looks heavily purpose-built, designed so that most people can look over their own workstations at some common fixed displays (TV, clock, binary lights, etc.) and also it has a (soundproofed?) glass box, which I guess is for the media.

Nowdays most of this really isn't necessary of course. The media can watch the same screens from a different room and the workers can share the same view on different computers and work in pretty much any room large enough to fit them all. It is still somehow important though to have everyone in the same room (mission control still isn't separate people in their own backyards connected over the internet)....


Having directed large groups doing much, much, much less important things, the ability to run across the room and shout at someone when something goes wrong is still pretty indispensable. Plus it's fun.


So long as there aren't fake explosions with people falling out of their chairs. (And the comms officer falling a different direction than everyone else.)


Yes, there is a lot more techno 'theatre' in the '69 photo. Obviously it's low tech compared to now but it looks more dramatic. People will be launching rockets from the conference room of the Cape Canaveral Holiday Inn in 10 years time ;-)

I'm veering wildy off topic but the way people perceive spaces is really interesting to me. A great example; The debating chamber of the Houses of Parliament was destroyed by a bomb in WW2. It was proposed to rebuild it larger to accommodate the higher number of MPs serving, so that everyone got a seat for busy debates. Churchill vetoed this because he felt that standing room only in the debating chamber was more dramatic and served to underline the importance of the discussion of serious issues.


I was afraid the two scenes were going to look basically the same...thank goodness they don't!


This literally brought me to tears. I am so happy to witness the miracle of humanity.


Honestly, this is the real value. Making the gigantic dreams seem possible again.

I've been smiling for an hour now.


I missed it and couldn't find the official recording yet, so here's a youtube of the launch:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2_49KPj9jE

And a few moments in the vid which really show how much it means to the team:

Solar panels deploying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v...

The ground crew after the launch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v...


This is why I admire the USA. With all its faults, I can't imagine a startup like SpaceX happening in any other country on Earth today.

Well done, Americans! Be proud!

(non US citizen, fwiw)


There is similar startup in Japan. http://www.snskk.com/ , mush smaller scale though.


Could definitely happen in New Zealand. Same can-do attitude, and we have some pretty technical small companies here; just not much money or population base.


People and talent are the most location independent resource. If it weren't so then space endeavours would be more proportionally distributed. But what really happens is that all the talent is continuously immigrating to the US.

Besides the economic factor the major hurdle is bureaucracy. If you are a small country you can be sure that all the big guys will want to know what you are going to do, how, when and they would probably even request a means to overhaul the operation if they deem it necessary. And that's just international bureaucracy. Most nation governments will probably never support you in such an endeavour anyway.


I was in NZ in Nov. 2009 when they launched their first "rocket." it was all over the news and papers. A "big" deal. So the day finally arrives and I'm watching the recap and I see the rocket. It was maybe 20 ft tall if that, launched from some sheep grazing area with spectators hanging out here and there. Thoroughly unimpressive. Don't get me wrong NZ is a great place but I just don't see them in the space race.

There is no way something like this is happening in NZ.


We just don't have the money, that's the biggest problem. Sure, we have a few people in NZ that are very wealthy, but they aren't the type to spend it on stuff like this.


Elon Musk is South African


And yet he lives and works in the US. That is(was?) America's big strength, not that Americans are the best or the brightest, but that the best and the brightest from all around the world would choose to come to America to realize their dreams.


Absolutely, but he worked methodically when he was younger to get both himself and his family into the USA.


I doubt it was a struggle, since his mother was American-Canadian. Doesn't diminish his accomplishments in any way though.


There are lots of rocket companies, some outside of the US:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_private_spaceflight_com...

To be honest, I don't really get the hubbub about this launch. It's a business innovation, not a scientific one. We've been putting unmanned rockets into space for 70 years.


This is a little like saying "What's so great about the personal computer? Universities have giant room sized computers and have had so for a long time!"

I just wish people had this kind of enthusiasm and press for every launch. There are great missions flown all the time and no one really cares. The SpaceX people are amazing, but so are the NASA, ESA, ISRO, Chinese, and Russians. All launches are beautiful and amazing.


I don't really get the hubbub about this launch. It's a business innovation

The business innovation is what the hubbub is all about. People aren't excited because of the science, but because this is a watershed moment in the business of space.

All successful technological revolution have to pass through two critical phases, when it becomes possible and when it becomes profitable. This is a big step in phase two.


Also - this is the first business to recover a spacecraft and _will_ be the first business to dock with the ISS


Well, 55 years since Sputnik, getting to orbit's a lot harder than just touching space.

But it's not only for what they did with this launch. The rocket meets NASA's requirements for carrying humans, once they finish building an escape system. It's also a lot cheaper per pound of cargo than what we've been using.

A successful dock with the ISS will mean they're well on track to carry astronauts there, and to carry tourists to Bigelow's orbital hotel.

So far there have been only two successful manned space programs, both run by superpower governments. Now it looks like a fairly small private company is going to pull it off. That's a pretty big step forward.


Three. The Chinese don't quite count as a superpower government yet but they're getting pretty dang close.


Thanks, somehow I forgot that China had put a human in orbit.


The hubbub is because for a little while it was looking like rockets and space might have become a thing of the past for the USA.


That's what the hubbub is about, if you don't get it you're not trying.


It's amazing how exciting this is. It's not as if it's the first time humans have sent an automated delivery capsule into space, yet it feels like a game changing event.

Co-incidentally I read a post on HN this morning arguing that the iPhone wasn't special. We already had phones, and palm computers, and downloadable apps. It was no big deal.

In the case of both SpaceX and Apple thy've taken something that's existed already, but made it accessible. With SaceX the massively reduced costs has made dreams possible that we all thought were dead. With the iPhone they made a hand computer that my wife's sister, who's hardly ever used a computer in her life, could pick up and understand and fall in love with in minutes.

When you take an existing technology, but cut the barriers to entry radically lower (barriers in terms of cost, or usability, whatever) then you have something special. Amazon did this with online shopping, facebook did it with social networks (orkut was a clunky piece of junk - been there). Instagram did it with photo sharing, dropbox did it with file sharing.

Identify barriers, in whatever form you find them, and knock them flat. That's where the opportunities are.


I'm loving the little human touches in the webcast.

"And the next day is... Hatch opening day!! YAY!!!" <Does the Happy Dance>

"Everything is, uh, go, so we're ready to rock'n'roll!!!"

I get the sense that the enthusiasm is completely unscripted.


Webcast team wiping away tears as the camera cuts back to them. Awesome.


So amazing to see this and experience the launch with them. You can tell how much energy, passion and personal sacrifice these people and their leader, Elon, put into this. It's absolutely beautiful to see. Real innovation, a true testament of our capabilities as human beings. Not a company with 800+ million users that can't even figure out the ad business. :) Congrats guys!


Unfortunately the majority sees it in other light - "ah yeah, another space ship, whatever, let me check what stupid photos my mates uploaded recently...". It's basically the society that's rotting, and FB just takes the profit.

Really reminds me the Idiocracy movie...


Thing is that facebook provides something of immediate utility. As exciting as this is there is not a lot we can do with it beyond go "ah! cool!"


A launch platform for mining asteroids?


It is kind of sad that Facebook has a $100B valuation considering what SpaceX is doing, and plans on doing. One is just one particular web-profiles-and-chat service, not that hard or original. The other is frickin rocket science.


SpaceX is a revolution, not a business (yet). In our world, Facebook's data is more valuable than a revolution. But hey, we might not be dealing with just our world any more :)


SpaceX is a business. You can pay for one of their rockets if you have something to put in orbit.


I'd like to see someone donate money and cover the costs for these guys to put their "free internet" into space: http://shackspace.de/wiki/doku.php?id=project:hgg:faq#what_i...


wonder if some kind of permissions would be necessary(and whom to ask) to put something in orbit. Can I put my arduino based spy satellite in orbit?


It would depend on the laws of the country you launch from.



Never will I post, on HN or anywhere else, anything that I cannot support with evidence. Thank you for correcting me.

My point isn't entirely moot though. I still think knowing things about almost a billion people, namely what & when they do things, has more proof of value today than these contracts. The cool factor doesn't necessarily mean money.

(What 'money' itself means and how it represents value is a totally different discussion)


SpaceX is selling launches on its rockets to commercial companies right now: http://www.spacex.com/launch_manifest.php

Moreover, this Falcon 9 launch was part of a commercial contract with NASA to provide supplies to ISS over the next few years (12 additional flights in addition to this demo). When someone signs a contract with you and gives you money in exchange for goods and services we call that business.


Definitely the best tech startup on the planet. Those of us doing "web stuff" can go hide in shame.


No way! Don't forget that Musk started out doing "web stuff".

Today you are doing web stuff. Tomorrow...


As someone who bowed out of the SpaceX interview process because he couldn't see himself coding in C++ anymore, and now focuses on web and mobile instead... I wish I shared your confidence right now. That launch gave me goosebumps that no app ever has >.<


Exactly. The biggest motivator for my "web stuff" is this "space stuff".


Same here. The science fiction dreams of our youth won't realize themselves!


Same here, man. I had my startup and failed. But someday I got to do this.


Beautiful


I'm doing web stuff a) because I love it and b) because it'll give me enough capital to bootstrap to the "second stage" (boom boom) of my career - space.


Ain't nothin' wrong with the web. It is rapidly becoming the backbone of communication, business, and industry. Whether it's "web" stuff or "book" stuff or "physical" stuff, just make sure that at the end of the day whatever "stuff" you're working on is something you can be proud of.


Remember Elon made his money from the "easy" stuff first. Make your billion then build some rockets ;p


It truly makes me feel what I do is not worth while at all. It's just amazing how far we have come. Imagine in the future when kids and adults will no longer feel like getting a rocket in to space is any kind of achievement.


> Imagine in the future when kids and adults will no longer feel like getting a rocket in to space is any kind of achievement.

I bet that people in the 60s/70s were thinking the same.


I'm talking about hundreds of years from now.


Sailing across the Atlantic is still an achievement.


Only if you are 12 and don't have to call the coastguard.


I think most Americans don't feel getting a rocket in to space is that amazing anymore. They probably think "been there done that, now what?".


Mars!


Or apply for a Web Developer job at SpaceX - http://www.spacex.com/careers.php

There will be web apps on Mars too. The question is - will they still be slower than native?


It depends, in the best case 15 seconds. But usually a few minutes and when the Mars is behind the sun, you can't use light.

You are not really cut out, but the communication is not interactive and you can only play round based online games. I still hope quantum entanglement can be used as a communication tool.


Quantum entanglement cannot be used to transmit information. This would fundamentally violate relativity and all modern understandings of physics. Additionally, sending a signal to Mars takes much longer than 15 seconds (still over 4 minutes at the closest approach).


It could be used to transmit information, just not faster than the speed of light.

Quantum entanglement might still be used for communication. See quantum cryptography


It's more like 4-20 minutes.


A giant step for mankind. Absolutely amazing.


without paypal (x.com) stuff, SpaceX could never exist.


Watching the webcast is exhilarating. Humans are fucking amazing.


How about that roar from the SpaceX crowd when the solar panels deployed! Way to go humans!!


In case anyone is tempted to purchase their own launch, here is the handy user guide. http://www.spacex.com/Falcon9UsersGuide_2009.pdf


This is a long read but worth the historical perspective, it's the Apollo 11 landing, annotated transcripts of the voice communications between mission control and the astronauts:

http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/a11/a11.landing.html


For even longer reads:

http://spacelog.org/


New to me, thanks!


It blows me away that an object can go from standing on the ground to being in orbit in less than 10 minutes.


You have to consider how low that orbit is. ISS is closer to earth than SF is to LA for example.


Skyscrapers aren't that tall either. Burj Khalifa is only 830 meters tall, which is about half the distance from here to the neighborhood store.

At 21,000 meters, the U-2 didn't fly that high. That's only a half marathon, and many people can run that distance easily.

In other words, I fail to understand your point, even omitting the 7.9km/second sideways velocity for LEO.


It doesn't speak to the technical difficulty, but his example, and all of yours, help put the distance into context that we can intuitively understand. It's definitely helpful.


The kinetic energy of 1 kg moving at orbital velocity is about 31 megajoules. The potential energy of the same kilogram suspended 100km overhead is less than a megajoule.

Most of the difficulty to orbit isn't distance, it's the amount of energy it takes to get something moving that fast.

Actually it's much, much worse than that, because it's actually the change in momentum involved.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tsiolkovsky_rocket_equation


The point is it's less far than it looks (humans are bad at judging vertical distances), and giving a real-world comparison makes the real height easier to conceptualize than an abstract number.


Humans are also bad at comparing horizontal differences to vertical ones. Switching from one to the other obscures the difficulty of going higher. If the peak of Everest were 8,848 meters in distance rather than height, it would be an unremarkable hike.


That makes sense; it's easier to take a horizontal step than a vertical one. Someone should do up an infographic showing the effect of gravity on work required for horizontal versus vertical movement.

I think it's logarithmic, but my math is bad.


http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4010640

The problem is the rocket equation. Yes, there's a natural log in there, but working against our favor.


The work required to move horizontally is zero (ignoring friction)


I was under the impression that we walk primarily by applying friction?


It still requires travelling at mach 25, that's a lot of velocity to put under the belt in such a short amount of time.


which you have to wait for 10 minutes for elevator during rush hours.


The best thing about the first aborted launch? We get to see more of Ron Burgundy.


Failed means exploded. The first launch was aborted.


haha it's funny you mention that. I was thinking to myself 1 min ago that technically it's not a failed launch but an aborted one. thanks for pointing it out!


Not just technically. That was a _very_ successful test of their launch abort system and engine diagnostics. And of their ground crew for diagnosing and fixing it so quickly :)


The amazing thing for me was when one of their earlier launches aborted and they refueled and launched the same day. That's just obscene turnaround time compared to anything else that can reach LEO.

Apparently they couldn't do it this time due to the narrowness of the launch window, not because they couldn't be ready again in a few hours.


Any launch you can walk away from!


A great one is when you get to reuse the aircraft


It's interesting to see how long a lot of the people at SpaceX have been with SpaceX; it's different from most startups. People who had 20+ year careers with USAF or NASA before joining SpaceX back in 2003-2006, and have been there ever since.


I love that little roll correcting nozzle twitching




Wow that was just fucking awesome in all ways. I really feel pumped up to go to space after watching that. Thank you SpaceX and Elon Musk for unlocking the next frontier.


1000 km downrange the coolest comment just heard was "...and we're picking up data from New Hampshire" in a British accent.


>"Once in orbit, it will take three days for the Dragon to reach the ISS, and two >more days of pre-docking maneuvers to ensure everything is in order before >finally meeting the ISS on the fifth day of the mission. After nine days at the >station, the ISS crew will load the Dragon with return cargo which will be >recovered after the spacecraft splashes down in the Pacific ocean."

http://www.geekosystem.com/spacex-iss-mission-tomorrow/


Oh man, I timed that perfectly :) woke up 10 minutes ago, click link just now - T - 25.

And away she goes


It was amazing to watch! I'm so happy to see it go smoothly so far. It means so much for the future of space exploration.

Way to go, Elon! If you can keep this up, history isn't going to forget you.


It was truly surreal to stand in the middle of a prairie about 120 miles from Cape Canaveral, have the live cast in the palm of my hand, and watch the rocket off in the distance.


I often get that feeling: "We're living in the future". It's not quite the future I imagined as a kid, but it's pretty damned cool.


Got to watch the red fire trail disappear into the clouds over South Florida. So awesome.


It's getting exciting. Imagine if the moon landings would be taking place with today's mass communication capabilities. Hope I can live through the next such event (heck even an asteroid would do).


+10000 points - your first extra-terrestrial check-in.

Buzz Aldrin is now the major of The Moon.


I can see it now, in like 10 years...

Foursquare: Elon Musk has become the Mayor of Mars.


I was lucky to tune in about ten minutes before launch. I wasn't alive for the Apollo program, and I thought of our space efforts as a little lame as the shuttle program ratcheted down and finally expired over my lifetime.

This launch blew all of that away. I just have to figure out how to present it to my seven year old.

Godspeed and all the best, SpaceX.


Is the music they're playing during the countdown something identifiable? It's the kind of thing that's perfect for playing over and over for hours without getting repetitive.


Full high quality video of the entire hour long Webcast:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-gSkGQnFR8


If you have NASA TV on your cable/satellite feed its been on since about 11PM PST. Easier to stay up until about 1AM than it was 3AM :-)


Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!


Congratulations on the successful launch Elon and Team!

Guys, don't beat up other startups and people on what they are doing or will do.

Celebrate this for what it is.


The Washington Post article[1] on the launch comments on the the apparent cultural differences between NASA and SpaceX:

Many of the SpaceX controllers wore untucked T-shirts and jeans or even shorts, a stark contrast to NASA’s old suit-and-tie shuttle team.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/privat...


They sure like the word "Nominal"... :)


Nominal and Anomaly sound way too similar. I got nervous everytime they said Nominal thinking there was an anomaly!

Congrats to SpaceX for a successful launch!


I had the same thought about nominal vs anomaly. When the word for a good thing is so close to the word for a bad thing, that's bad. Perhaps they have a standard where they've banned the speaking of "anomaly" on all operations audio channels. I'd ban it.


Me too. Look at definition 5 at Merriam Websters [1]. I think that definition must be related to definition 3 something is insignificant if it is approximately in line with expectations.

[1] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nominal


I was wondering what they actually mean by "nominal." According to the dictionaries I can find it means something like "in name only" which doesn't seem appropriate to the context.


Yes they do! :)


Listening to the cheering when the solar arrays deployed made my day.


I can't believe I'm staying up to watch this, but it just might be history in the making.


What is the white gas that comes out of the launch vehicle (pre launch)?


liquid oxygen after boiling


What is it for ?


The tank holds liquid oxygen, which is the oxidizer for the engine. Since oxygen is a gas at the ambient Florida temperature, it boils off all the time. A it boils off, the gas is released into the atmosphere, and the tank is replenished.


Strictly speaking the white `gas` is water from the delightfully humid Florida climate condensing in the presence of the extremely cold Oxygen boil off.


How long will it take to reach orbit? And the space station? Should I stay up and keep watching? :-P


Well, it was in orbital with solar panels deployed after about 12.5 minutes. Then they said on the video feed that it would be "a couple of days" before it rendezvous with the space station.


Yeah, they have a series of tests they have to complete over the next few days before NASA will give them the go ahead to dock.


According to the counter, they called orbit at about T+10 minutes.

Solar arrays deployed at T+11:50! And the crowd goes wild!


They've said a few times it'll take the rocket 3.5 days to get to the station.

UPDATE: from [1]: Thursday May 24th - approaching station and maneuvering, Friday May 25th - docking, May 31st - return trip to Earth.

[1]: http://blog.al.com/space-news/2012/05/spacex_launches_falcon...


I believe it'll take 2 days before they are ready to dock with the ISS.


This is the first live space launch I've ever watched.


We did it! We fucking did it! (Humanity, that is)


I got chills watching the vehicle lift off the launchpad. Hats off to Mr. Musk/SpaceX.


I'm curious what they will do with the failed check valve from the previous launch.


Analyse the crap out of it to figure out how it passed q&a.


Well this is the most exciting (and literal) launch of a startup I've ever seen.


Falcon 9 is now in orbit!!


Can I watch this webcast without flash player?


It works on iPad - they're using livestream.com which is the only service I've seen with a decent non-flash live-streaming service - I'm not sure why they don't have the option to serve that to other devices.


there are no live streaming without plugins, yet.

Unless you count Quicktime or WMP.


Liftoff!!! Good luck SpaceX & Elon Musk


Was watching the "live stream" but missed the countdown because somehow the video became 3 minutes delayed behind the actual time. Reloaded the page a couple of seconds into the launch.

I only noticed it because the Twitter feed updated correctly...

(Edit: Poking around some more it seems the problem occurs when changing the quality setting.)


Was the stream 720p or 480p? The reason I'm asking is that I have only found a 480p screencaptured recording of it, and I'd rather watch it in HD. Sadly I missed the live event :(

NasaTV has their own video at youtube, but I'd be more interested of the SpaceX version (apparently they were separate streams).


It made it to orbit!


Falcon 9 is in Orbit! Hell yeah!


this is the best video so far from inside the crew in the mission control center http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QXzZBk3WaA from here to eternity!


Now in orbit. Congratulations!


For those who lost the original webcast: http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/22/3035908/spacex-successful-...


God speed. Let's make it happen tonight. Hopefully all systems go.


Missed it by 4 minutes. Anyone has a recording of the launch?


You can rewind the webcast.


awesome. thanks! edit: I was watching it on ustream and couldn't see how. But this link worked.


Lift off!!!


Congrats to SpaceX team for the great launch!


Only 25 minutes until launch! It's a shame this window is in the dark, but I'm sure it will be awesome to watch anyway.


Definitely staying up to watch this!


she was so excited.


Not sure if you were referring to her, but I think I saw the company's president Gwynne Shotwell come into the control room and thank everybody. I was hoping to see Elon Musk somewhere too.


He was at the front of the control room.


Thank you. I watched the SpaceX video again and now I think I see him sitting at the frontmost table, center, wearing a black shirt.

Engineer billionaire playboy CEOs for the win!


What's the next thing we can watch live? The docking with ISS? when will that be on?


When will the actual docking take place? And will they or NASA stream that as well?


Orbit!


That was amazing to watch.


The loud cheer when the solar panels were deployed - priceless.


and it's lift off.


The only thing hotter than this is the Tesla


Gods that was fun. Just went through Wikipedia and updated all its articles to reflect that they're 3 for 3 on the Falcon 9. Such a raving fanboi over here.


If the Falcon Heavy works on the first launch, then I'm going to seriously dig to see if Elon Musk sold his soul for such successful launches; the Falcon 9 launches are impressive, but there is so much more that can go wrong in the heavy.


I actually have high hopes that it'll work on the first try, without too much selling of souls involved. SpaceX is actually pursuing a very sensible incremental route with their designs. They gave themselves the opportunity to learn at the School of Hard Knocks, blowing up their first three Falcon 1 flights, before getting the next two right. By the time they moved on to the Falcon 9, they had five launches and two successes under their belt.

The Falcon 9 is actually a fairly incremental upgrade from the Falcon 1: essentially identical engines; nearly identical avionics; just much bigger tanks and more complicated plumbing. It's evident now that this approach has really paid off for them.

Similarly, by the time they'll fly a Heavy, they'll have at least five Falcon 9 flights under their belt. And the Heavy is not really much more of a step change from the Falcon 9 than the Falcon 9 was from the Falcon 1: just a lot more of the same engines; very similar avionics, and more complicated plumbing due to the propellant cross-feed system. So, not THAT big a step technically, despite its outrageous payload capabilities.


> blowing up their first three Falcon 1 flights

Only the first flight did anything close to "blow up", and the payload was recovered largely structurally intact (sensitive components irreparable). It would almost certainly have been survivable in an LES-equipped capsule.

Flights 2 and 3 were prevented from reaching orbit but did not blow up, catch fire, or do anything else that would have precluded a safe, if rather early, return of the crew.


I admit to using the term "blowing up" rather colloquially. you're entirely right: it's not accurate. Even the first flight (which suffered an engine shutdown due to a fuel leak) didn't really "blow up" until it hit the ground; the latter two probably only "blew up" upon re-entry. (Although I'm not actually sure about the third flight; during staging, the first stage rammed the second stage at a low velocity, damaging it enough to scupper the mission. No idea how intact the second stage and payload were after that.)

All three flights would certainly have been survivable if equipped with a LES; all three would certainly have led to loss of payload if not launching people. In any case, five flawless flights since then have demonstrated that they've learned quite a lot from those early experiences.


2 minutes....!!


YAY


Bravo Zulu, Elon!


That was awesome!


Why can't I see this webcast? Using Chrome on Linux Mint.


Because it's over, you missed it.


Awesome!


One of my favorite lines on the mission control audio channel, just tossed off in an offhand way:

    "Vehicle is supersonic."


dragon has reached orbit and deployed solar/radiator wings. lots of cheering from SpaceX folks heard.


launch happened. safe so far. second stage sep success. seems to be above atmosphere now...


they mentioned it reached orbit... around the 10 minute mark. pretty fast! I think they mentioned at one point it was traveling at 3km/s. At 12mins, the solar arrays were deployed. They mentioned it would take a few days to dock with the ISS though.

I heard lots of cheering during the deployment of the solar array, I'm guessing past missions this has been the turning point?


I believe this was the first deployment of solar arrays for spacex. The previous orbit was internal power only.


Yup, they've launched a capsule before but in order to be a useful spacecraft the solar arrays are pretty high priority, and this was the first time that whole part of the spacecraft was put to the test.


I assume so. I imagine that once that big exploding burning thing has finished and shutdown, a lot of the "Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly" kinds of events become far less likely.


I am moved again. For nothing, only the humans' advancement. I am a science fans since young. I always have a dream that humans make the colonies on the other planets. Maybe the space travel. However, it can not come true on our era. Last, i really need a time machine to see the future. Really! "Back to the future 1-3" impresses me very deep.


protip for you day traders out there: SpaceX is a BUY


SpaceX is private at the moment, but that's probably going to change. IPO timing is a regular topic of debate among SpaceX-watchers.


It's a private company.


Ten, nine, eight...




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