SpaceX Takes Off For The Final Frontier

SpaceX Takes Off For The Final Frontier

SpaceX Takes Off For The Final Frontier

It has finally happened! Thanks to the joint efforts between Elon Musk’s SpaceX and NASA, America has rejoined the space race and jumped forward to use 21st century technology to do it.

After SpaceX and NASA scrubbed the launch of the Dragon capsule on Wednesday, they announced that the next launch window would be Saturday. Today’s launch was the fulfillment of years and years of work, and it did not disappoint.

NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken rode skyward aboard a sleek, white-and-black, bullet-shaped Dragon capsule on top of a Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off from the same launch pad used to send the Apollo astronauts to the moon a half-century ago. The flight had been delayed three days because of stormy weather in Florida.”

“Let’s light this candle,” Hurley said, borrowing the words used by Alan Shepard on America’s first human spaceflight in 1961.”

The two men are scheduled to arrive at the International Space Station on Sunday for a stay of up to four months, after which they will return to Earth in a Right Stuff-style splashdown at sea.”

That launch was a marvelous sight. The last space shuttle flight was in 2011, and the technology being used on board was still out of the 1980’s. The SpaceX launch, in every way, shows off some of the best and most cutting-edge technology that America can offer. First, the Falcon 9 rocket, after separation from the Dragon capsule, actually returned to Earth and LANDED on the SpaceX drone ship “Of Course I Still Love You.” It’s not a spent booster falling into the ocean anymore – the rocket RETURNS ITSELF.

Second, the shots from inside the Dragon capsule scream Star Trek. And not the Original Series, but The Next Generation. Everything about the shots inside the capsule screams “high tech,” from the clarity of the video feed, to the touchscreens being used by astronauts Hurley and Behnken (seriously, every time the commentary referred to the astronauts as “Bob and Doug” it made me smile, because it felt so casual and relatable), to the overall sleekness and lines of the Dragon capsule itself. It looks like the future, and now the future is well and truly on its way to the International Space Station.

Does that SpaceX video make anyone else think that the Dragon capsule is chasing down a TIE Fighter, or is that just me?

President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Second Lady Karen Pence traveled to Florida to watch the launch in person.

This was an exciting moment. It was a unifying moment. In the midst of so much chaos within the country, it was an important moment. Americans are going back into space, and the teams at NASA and SpaceX made this happen. This is our 21st century return to space in grand style, and we all needed this. There is nothing that can beat American ingenuity, and we just saw it launch itself into orbit from American soil.

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

Featured image: SpaceX Dragon capsule ready for launch, May 24, 2020, via the SpaceX Flickr account, Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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  • Lloyd says:

    Sounds kinda like a big waste of money…..Money that could have been spent of problems here on Earth. Why, when we can send men to the moon and beyond, can we not control some killer virus created in China to kill us all??? Say what you want….the scientific…medical…pharmaceutical…communities, along with all levels of government have FAILED US !!!

    • Sasha Shokolova says:

      The cost of developing the Crew Dragon capsule and the crew-rated reusable booster that got it to space was about 0.05% of the coronavirus stimulus money spent just so far. And that gets several more flights to the ISS in the bargain. AND a reliable, reusable launch system that is already launching communication satellites, military satellites, and now high-speed internet access for some of the most remote areas of the world, at a fraction of the cost-per-kg of older systems. It seems to me like it is the coronavirus spending that is the big waste of money!

    • Beans says:

      Because we can. Because we want to.

      Because what killer virus from China? You mean one that has less lethality than even a wimpy seasonal flu and only killed in large numbers because democratic governors and mayors shoved a whole lot of people into sick environments (like nursing homes) and left everyone to die?

      And, well, it would have been nice if the ChiComs had played fair with everyone and let us and the rest of the world have access to their research and their documents and their samples, but, noooooo.. And then our CDC and NIH decided, like the FBI and Justice Department, to play party politics rather than do science properly.

      And the pharmaceutical companies failed us? Seriously? Hydroxycloroquine is 99.9% effective against Corona-Chan and it’s been around since the 50’s. What more do you want? A drug that takes a fatal case and makes it non-fatal in 12 hours?

      Seriously? Quit watching CNN.

    • GWB says:

      Totally fallacious comparison. They’re two separate things. That’s beside the fact that you’re not going to stop death (and the fact that Winnie The Flu wasn’t a “killer virus”).

  • Nina says:

    This was SO COOL to see! My grandfather was an early supporter of Space X and would’ve been thrilled to pieces to see this. American entrepreneurship and ingenuity at it’s best. Something that has always been the backbone of all this country has done. Electricity, the telephone, cars, planes, the internet… and now back into space. That is, very much so, a GOOD THING.

  • njc says:

    I’m no fan of touchscreens because when you operate things by touch you cannot find things by touch. In the old days, aircraft cockpits were designed so that you could find the right control by touch while keeping your eyes where they need to be. Used in automobiles, touch screens will kill someone. Maybe they already have. Used in a spacecraft, they will make it harder to use the controls with the craft spinning or bucking.

    • Sasha Shokolova says:

      Except that in this spacecraft, you are not looking out of a windshield, or a cockpit windscreen, to fly… you are looking at information displayed on the touchscreen itself, so the idea that you are looking somewhere else while operating the touchscreen and needing to operate the touchscreen ‘by feel’ isn’t accurate. If the lights are out in the spacecraft, well, the touchscreens are self-illuminated. And if the astronaut is somehow blinded, well, we can just fall back on the fact that –the entire spacecraft is, by default, autonomously operated– and capable of going to orbit, docking, undocking, and returning to earth with blinded astronauts, unconscious astronauts, six-month-old infants, or no one at all piloting it 😉

    • GWB says:

      I concur on the spinning and bucking. Though, honestly, if your ride is that wild, you’re probably already doomed.

      I have trouble with touchscreens in that sort of environment just because they don’t provide positive feedback that you actually have the right control and aren’t hitting the wrong button. Especially in a space suit. (One fundamental problem with touchscreens in general is the lack of a pointer on the screen showing where you are about to touch. That’s disastrous in what are called safety and critical control applications.)

      And, Sasha, I’ve been involved with computers almost my entire life. I do not trust them to fly a plane, to pilot a spacecraft, etc. I trust them to handle the tough jobs, while supervised by a human who can take the controls. But, generally speaking, computers have made me a semi-Luddite. I do not want one in charge. (BTW, that’s not entirely distrust of the computers, but of the programmers – who often think they know a lot more than they really do.)

  • GWB says:

    the rocket RETURNS ITSELF
    Now, if we could just get that to happen with more mundane recyclables….

    I watched the video of the launch, and I was cheering. One of my first vivid memories is the night, as a wee lad, I got out of bed and went and sat with my dad to watch the last Apollo launch.

    Now, we just need to stop thinking of the ISS as our destination. We need a moon base. We need actual exploration of Mars (little robot cars does NOT cut it). We need exploration of the moons of the gas giants. We need people mining asteroids and comets. Let’s get to space for real, not just as a publicity stunt.

  • […] or any “electric” car because those cars are so bad for the environment, but I love SpaceX. In the craptacular two years that have been the scandemic, Mr. Musk has come into his own through […]

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