Tuesday, December 8, 2020

A Hectic Day Leads to a Mixed Up Post

Hectic?  In what way?  You ask.  Some of it was sitting and watching activities on the attempt to launch Starship SN8 that was aborted automatically as the engines were coming up to thrust.  Some of it was centered on one of those phrases I'm sure all of us have heard but not all have had problems with:  Medicare Open Enrollment.  It's that time of year when you can change other plans you have, dropping or adding as you wish.  Some of it was Christmas decorating and keeping on top of things in the house.. 

There has been no official description of what the problem at engine startup was, but since it was 4:35 PM with the window officially closing at 5:00, they stood down for the day quickly.  There's a repeat of the TFR and road closure tomorrow as well, so depending on what they find was the problem, this could launch tomorrow.  Or not.  These engines have been static fired, so we know they started at least once! 

A surprise today was that NASA flew one of their WB-57 aircraft down to around the launch site, a reconnaissance jet often used to capture aerial photos and videos of spacecraft tests.  No one had mentioned that possibility in any of my reading leading up to today.  Chances are this is a part of the $135 million Starship Moon lander contract awarded by NASA in April.  NASA has positioned itself to benefit from SpaceX’s success and leverage the company’s extensive internal investments.  A few hours of flight like this is probably not a big expense.

A WB-57 - NASA Photo.  In some views, it's reminiscent of a U-2; in others, not so much.

The Medicare Open Enrollment story is more annoying than anything.  The company I retired from, doesn't exist anymore.  Two or three years ago, they were bought by a bigger fish in the sea, and last year merged with another to create an even bigger fish.  Rather than going to the HR department, I have to go to a company they contract with to manage the relationships between retirees and the various insurance companies.  Something I did in early November triggered them to assign someone to call me this evening at 7:15 local.  Meanwhile something else triggered them to cancel the call - without letting me know.   No phone call as I sat here waiting.  I suppose there's a chance they'll call me at 7:15 in someone else's time zone.  Bangalore? 

I haven't posted this picture or done much to follow up to it, but that's part of the general busy-ness of the season, too. 

Those are the right points (reference), and have been on the engine eight days.  "All I gotta do" is get the details of assembly right to time the ignition, valves and such, wire up my electronic ignition, put some fuel in the tank and try to start it.   Yeah.  All I gotta do.


  1. Thankfully I don't have to go through all that for my medical coverage.

    I clicked on to the launch a couple of hours after the abort, so I watched just the final few minutes. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!

  2. Whodathunk that the Canberra would still be flying today? Looks like NASA's extended the wings somewhat. And (clickity-click...,) no, it was the Air Force back in 19 and 63 that extended the wings from 68 feet to 122 feet and re-engined it... Wow, didn't know that. Interesting, a twin-engined U2 for all purposes (except not able to reach the U2's altitude, but still...)

    Great camera platform, stable, long loiter time and range.

    Let's hope tomorrow goes better.

  3. The headaches of choosing a health plan after retirement and age 65 are enough for some to want a single payor govt run plan that does not require sign ups or annual renewals. Those without computers spend days on the telephones and often give up in frustration and take the plan that the nicest voice convinces them is best. Those with a heavy RX load need a part D plan, but with a part D plan the Feds ban the use of RX discount cards like GoodRX. I spent a week and a ream of paper before choosing a medicare plan and part d plan, but my Dr and RX needs are costly and my need for medical specialists is big. So after one year on Medicare I wish I was still on my employer plan, as my co pays for RX meds are in one case 40 times greater than my employer plan. Thats 40. What was $20 an RX co payon a private plan is now $800 an RX co pay on part medicare D.

    And because I am not an indigent foreign national living in public housing with new cars and kids at MIT I dont get my medical needs free.

  4. Your work making the points,cam,ignition timing is first class. A hale and hardy well done. TeX

  5. Just watched the Starship flight. Bummer about the landing, but, they their data.

    Now, for ray-guns..

    1. Just about to post a picture from that. It was cool as heck.

  6. Maybe you could try making some of these:

    1. I've seen those tops but never their website. Very nice looking and they seem like a good job for a CNC lathe, so maybe my CNC threading lathe would work. Getting the curvatures and dimensions right would probably be the trick.