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Space Exploration Technologies launched its Falcon 9 rocket into earth orbit on its inaugural flight today, a key milestone in the startup’s plan to take cargo into space once the last of the space shuttles retires.
The two stage, 180-foot rocket left the pad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at about 2:45 p.m. Eastern. It achieved earth orbit nine minutes later. The lauch this afternoon followed several delays earlier in the day including a sailboat that had wandered into an off limits area near the launch site and an attempt that was aborted just seconds before ignition due
With a vacuum specific impulse of 304s, Merlin is the highest performance gas generator cycle kerosene engine ever built, exceeding the Boeing Delta II main engine, the Lockheed Atlas II main engine and the Saturn V F-1.
Note how the path goes right over eastern Australia! The timing is perfect, too: about an hour later, the second stage would’ve been halfway around the world, matching the position and time of the UFO sightings.
The spiral pattern seen in Norway is known to be from gas leaking out of the booster. As the booster spins and the gas shoots out, it makes a water-sprinkler spiral pattern in the sky. As it happens, the second stage of the Falcon 9 was rotating; this was not supposed to happen and the SpaceX engineers are looking into it (it didn’t affect the launch adversely; the payload achieved orbit).
There was a lot of blame put on Obama for cuts to the NASA program. I wonder now if those cuts were previously planned after this kind of event.
How will it have affect the view of the NASA cuts if private companies already made proven steps into space?
Typical was the reaction of Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who represents workers in and around the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
“This first successful test flight of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is a belated sign that efforts to develop modest commercial space cargo capabilities are showing some promising signs. While this test flight was important, the program to demonstrate commercial cargo and crew transport capabilities, which I support, was intended to enhance not replace NASA's own proven abilities to deliver critical cargo and humans to low Earth orbit. Make no mistake, even this modest success is more than a year behind schedule, and the project deadlines of other private space companies continue to slip as well. This test does not change the fact that commercial space program are not ready to close the gap in human spaceflight if the space shuttle is retired this year with no proven replacement capability and the Constellation program is simultaneously cancelled as the President proposes."