Two American astronauts: aboard an American built spaceship, taking off from American soil. For space. A lot is riding on the SpaceX Liftoff on Saturday.
Following the Shuttle program, riddled with disasters, this will be the first for America in a long time.
We have been relying on Russia, everyone has, to get our astronauts up to the International Space Station.
The vision is not just going to ISS, but manned/womanned ships to the Moon, Mars, the Belt and beyond. Not just for science, but for commerce.
And, of course the militarization of the final frontier, as there is so much at stake.
Welcome Space Force to that special cadre that includes Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard.
A friend of mine in Cortez, she said, “OK here comes the world of the Expanse.”
Instead of NASA, it’s an independent contractor: SpaceX doing the heavy lifting.
Granted, getting to the Moon last time, over fifty years ago, the Saturn V, was Boeing, North American Aviation, Douglas Aircraft Company, and IBM under the orchestration of Wernher von Braun.
But it was NASA.
Still it remains the most powerful rocket to date, even after the SpaceX Falcon.
Saturn V’s height was 363 feet with liftoff thrust of 7.6 Million Pounds. It was retired in 1973 after deploying Apollo 11,12,14, 15, 16 and 17 to the moon as well as Skylab around Earth for research.
Apollo 13 had problems and never made it, but thankfully the astronauts made it back alive.
The SpaceX Falcon Heavy is 229.6 feet with Liftoff Thrust of 5 million pounds. It only needs to travel to Low Earth orbit. Another vessel, SpaceX has a Super Heavy under development that lands nose up like the rockets in the late 50s and 60s sci-fi movies: the Starship. Two stages: 230 feet at 16 million pounds of thrust and the next at 160 feet and 2.7 million pounds of thrust. Reusable: everything comes back not littering the ocean and space with debris such as the massive solid rocket boosters.
As for the Starship, personally, for the name, I think they should wait until they have something that actually goes to the stars and then goes faster than Mach 20, roughly only a little over 15,000 miles per hour.
Weather permitting, the launch marks the maiden voyage of an independent corporation contracted by NASA instead of NASA itself.
When I was a kid, they had us march to the school gym, sit on the floor, and watch the rockets take off when they were during class time. On a big black and white TV on a cart.
No one is at school these days, but everyone can see it anyway. NASA TV can be viewed live from space.com — they will have it or can be streamed from YouTube.
Liftoff is 1922 UTC, Saturday May 30, (12:22 PM PDST), for the next available instantaneous launch window after the Tuesday launch was scrubbed due to bad weather.
If the weather is bad, the next window is 1900 UTC (12:00 PM PDST) Sunday, the 31st.
What about the Orion that NASA was developing?
If they don’t want it, I could use the capsule as a storage shed. I saw it on NASA TV and it looks real nice. They could drop it in the lake near me. I could put a line around it and drag it in.
Looks like there’s plenty of room.
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So how will they look back on this in the future?
Trivia in the 2040s …
A hologram of Alex Trebek stands before the board.
The contestant, a hundred something polymorph hits her button stating, “I’ll take Mars for 4000.”
Alex reads …
“The establishment of the Ambassador to Mars program.”
The contestant answers, “What is the template of the Artemis Accords?
“I’ll stay with Mars, Alex …”
“May 19, 2020 …”, he glares. “For 6000.”
“What is the day the Space Force conference off-handedly announced the inception of the Ambassador to Mars program?”
“Correct, do you wish to stay with Mars? He asks.
The other contestants start to squirm.
“Yes,” she answers.
“Vice President Pence.” Alex says. For 8000.
“Who was the senior official inferring the start-up of the Ambassador to Mars program?”
She answers and they are about to break for a commercial.
Alex adds, “It was after announcing the establishment of the Space Command to compliment Space Force that a then US State Department Official off-handedly suggested taking bids for the honor.
They break for a commercial giving you time to print up a sandwich and synthesize something to drink.
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Watching Vice President Mike Pence chairing the 7th National Space Council Meeting, May 19th, I could see it all unfold.
The reason the EPA restrictions were eased (while we all had our eyes on the pandemic) — for the construction of new expressways and airports, because undoubtedly some will be spaceports.
He didn’t have to say it but instead it was said that we should have twelve spaceports for this “space faring nation.” Licensing awarded to a single contractor.
Oops there goes the ozone layer.
The Artemis Accords, sounds like sci-fi doesn’t it? Twin sister of Apollo.
No mention of aliens.
No mention of asteroid deflection, but experiments are on the horizon with DART, the Double Asteroid Redirection Test set for Thursday July 22, 2021.
Planetary defense sounds serious.
Is there something they aren’t telling us about Asteroid Apophis on Friday the 13th, 2029?
In any event, here’s the future again.
Jeff Worman lives in Walworth County, Wisconsin where there is water and a crisp, cool night sky conducive to the creative process. He has been drawing and writing since he was able to hold a pencil in his hand. Worman started out as a high school intern at the Bugle-American, an alternative newspaper in Milwaukee, and was a founder and long standing contributor to the Crazy Shepherd which emerged from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is published currently as the Shepherd Express. Worman’s column The Hourly Why was conceived in 1982, published broadly in underground newspapers over the decades and can be found online today at www.thehourlywhy.com. He has a great love of the outdoors and champions charities by riding those long distance centuries on his road bike to raise funds. Contact the author.