Starman

February 06, 2018 By: El Jefe Category: Hope

If you missed the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy today, put down your baked potato and nice red wine and watch this.  Trust me.

The launch today was from launchpad 39A at Cape Kennedy, made famous over 40 years ago when it was the setting of the Apollo missions to the Moon.  During those days, as a much younger El Jefe, I sat for untold hours watching on that crappy little 13 inch black and white television our effort to reach the stars.  At the height of the war in Vietnam, in which I fully expected to perish, our country was reaching beyond our atmosphere and gravity to touch another body in the heavens, the Moon.  The Moon missions transported me from the death and destruction on nightly television; indescribable even today, the emotion I felt during these missions carried me away from those dark days all the way through young adulthood.  I survived those times from two gigantic influences – out-of-control-ear-splitting rock-and-roll, and those thrilling missions to reach the moon.  I told you it was indescribable.

All of those memories came flooding back today when Falcon Heavy launched from the precise center of my youthful imagination.  Today, though, rather than carrying precious human lives of the past Apollo missions, atop that roaring machine was an icon almost more important – a symbol of modern society’s sense of adventure, technological development, and just a little bit of fun.  The payload for this ride was Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster, complete with a mannequin, wearing SpaceX prototype spacesuit in the driver’s seat..  The passenger, dubbed Starman, will ride in the Tesla in an orbit around the Earth and Mars for all time.  And the great thing?  You can watch it live.  On YouTube.

Welcome to the New World.  Enjoy.  I am.

 

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20 Comments to “Starman”


  1. It was like watching a sci-fi story from my childhood coming to life, (Says the woman who was glued to the TV for the moon landing and who never misses a good meteor shower). The two thrusters returning to earth in tandem was marvelous! Here’s to Major Tom and his Tesla!

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  2. @Deb
    +1

    And how ’bout that Elon Musk huh??

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  3. DON’T PANIC!
    How amazingly improbable!!!
    It is most definitely all worthwhile.
    And since nobody else said it first:
    Let all the Children Boogie!

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  4. El Jefe,
    Not sure where you’re located, but SpaceX has been building a friggin spaceport in my area, Deep South Texas; at Boca Chica, just in from the beach (about 17 miles NNE of Brownsville, 10 miles S of SPI).
    The site is across Hwy 4 from what used to be Kopernik Shores, a ‘subdivision’ in the middle of nowhere, on an incredibly hurricane exposed place about 5 feet above sea level, just behind the beach, and almost surrounded by lagoons and mud flats (a heavy rain would flood the place). It was targeted and marketed to mostly Polish people from Chicago as a ‘Florida-like’ second or retirement home (the slick ‘developer’ must have had some stones). Some homes were actually built, and people tried living there, but most eventually abandoned the place (except for a few diehards). We used to shake our heads driving past to and from Boca Chica Beach ;] .
    I spent a lot of my younger days around there, fishing on Boca Chica/SPI beaches, the Laguna Madre and South Bay, the jetties, etc. I even sailed my Hobie Cat across the bars at the mouth of the Rio Grande and up the river a mile or two, something that probably hadn’t happened since Capt King et al were running Confederate supplies and cotton (and even before that), the Rio of course was quite bigger and different then.

    The future Moon and Mars launches may take place there. I plan on watching from the Laguna or offshore.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpaceX_South_Texas_Launch_Site

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boca_Chica_Village,_Texas

    RGV Boca Chica area map:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:SpaceX_private-launch_facility_location–TexasProposal–201304.jpg

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  5. PS: Like many of y’all, I clearly remember watching all those launches in the ’60’s on the B/W TV (or was it color?). And watching the moon touchdown/walk with my (oldest) baby daughter on my knee.

    Great things back then, and until recently.

    Now we can look forward to the Mango Mussolini’s military parades in Washington DC:

    Sieg Hiel!

    Trump’s ‘marching orders’ to the Pentagon: Plan a grand military parade
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-marching-orders-to-the-pentagon-plan-a-grand-military-parade/2018/02/06/9e19ca88-0b55-11e8-8b0d-891602206fb7_story.html?utm_term=.a057a04f8aa1

    https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/2/6/1739322/-Donald-Trump-is-demanding-a-military-parade-like-the-one-in-France

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  6. slipstream says:

    I certainly hope that Starman remembered to bring a tea towel.

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  7. It hasn’t escaped my notice that Musk never hangs out around Trump as an “advisor” anymore. Has anyone managed to ask him what he thinks of Trump these days?

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  8. slipstream, he did! It’s in the glove compartment.

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  9. e platypus onion says:

    How soon before Drumpf takes credit? Curious iowan inquires to know. It was Drumpf’s loosening of regulations on coal pollution that was directly responsible for this extravaganza. Just ask him.

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  10. Yes, congrats to Musk but don’t forget that SpaceX’s President-COO is a female engineer – Gwynne Shotwell. She gets lots of the credit for this. So very happy for Gwynne and her team.

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  11. AlanInAustin ... says:

    Former rocket guy here and I must say that I’m impressed (although the landing of the boosters comes at the cost of a smaller payload).

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  12. Ray in Jerrytown says:

    I found the twin landing of the boosters more emotional than the launch. Straight out of my childhood sci-fi.

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  13. 1smartcanerican says:

    I watched this flight yesterday, spellbound, and it was just as exciting as watching the moon landing in Anchorage, AK – the first live TV feed in Alaska I believe. Both were simply awesome!

    And I agree with everyone – the twin landing of the boosters was the best. Cheered loudly at the TV like everyone could hear me. I love the whole show.

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  14. P.P, actually Doug Adams said it first in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

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  15. All y’all do realize we are dating ourselves, don’t you? 😉

    I have always been a space junkie. I wanted to be an astronaut, but that was not a possibility for women back then. Just like my #1 choice of college (Notre Dame), it was a men’s only club. Those two things we key to me becoming a bra-burning feminist, even before I figured out I’m gay and found even more to yell about.

    But that launch yesterday was an astounding thing to behold. I hadn’t known the Tesla would have a driver, so that really tickled me. Being able to “cast” the footage from my laptop to my big screen had me feeling like I was in Mission Control in my living room. For all its perils, our rapid technological advances can bring experiences we never thought possible to our fingertips, for good or ill.

    Now I have to start my campaign to get a trip to Space Camp for Christmas. Do they take kids over 60?

    And to Elon Musk, if you’re readin’ this, ya done good, kid…ya done good. Now, can you please build something large enough to hold #45 and his ego and give that a launch into orbit in a galaxy far, far away? That way Carrie Fisher can get an answer to her question “How high must one be to vote 4 Trump?”

    I enjoy all your comments every day, even though I don’t often comment myself. This is the first stop I make when I log onto the tubes every morning, to start the day in a good mood…before I turn on the TV news for reports of the latest outrage. So, hugs all around and thank you!

    DJW

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  16. Is it really such a good idea to add Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster to the population of space junk circling the Earth?

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  17. Nothing like a Saturn V launch, though….

    My husband works for a NASA contractor, and some years ago was awarded a free trip (for two) to Florida to see a shuttle launch. He’s been a NASA junkie since infancy, but he knew that things do go wrong, so he tried not to get too excited even when we got to the viewing area. And then it was two minutes to launch… sixty seconds… THIRTY seconds!!!…. Hold at thirty seconds. Yep, after a long wait we got back on the bus and went to the hotel and eventually back to Maryland and THEN they got the problem fixed and the damn thing launched. Oh well.

    When the shuttles weren’t flying after the Challenger explosion, the company policy changed to award a trip to the Air & Space Museum… about ten miles from us on the Metro. So at least we got a free trip to Florida.

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  18. Lunargent says:

    I there was ever a time when we all needed to see “DON’T PANIC” written in large, friendly letters, it’s now.

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  19. I did have that same thought about the Tesla being space junk, but it’s just so cool, I gotta love it! I think Elon Musk is “the Most Interesting Man in the World”

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  20. I watched it too, and it reminded me of when launches and space travel were edge-of-my-seat thrilling. I want us to have that kind of thrilling again. I want humanity to be bold and brave, take risks, do Really Big Things. Let’s see what the hell is out there!

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