Thursday, March 16, 2023

Interesting Launch Week

On Tuesday, March 14 at 8:30 PM EST, we had the opportunity to watch SpaceX launch the Cargo Dragon on an ISS-resupply mission, CRS-27 from the yard.  The Falcon 9 booster B1073 took its 7th flight and the Cargo Dragon itself, C209, was on its third mission to the ISS.  B1073 landed successfully on A Shortfall Of Gravitas (ASOG), at T+7:45.  Liftoff is a bit after 29:10 in this video, but (as usual) YouTube and blogger don't allow me preset that for you - the booster touchdown is at 37:15. 

Sometime later this spring, B1073 will be converted into a Falcon Heavy side booster for the EchoStar-24 mission currently "penciled in" for NET May '23.

This evening, the launch moved too far from our backyard to see, way up to Wallops Island, Virginia, where Rocket Lab launched the Stronger Together mission carrying two satellites for Capella Space, who calls themselves "the Leaders in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR)" for Earth observing satellites. 

Since the booster isn't recovered, I embed a shorter video; the full launch video is an hour long, around 50 minutes of which is between achieving orbit and deploying the payload.  The longer video is here, if you want it.  

That's only half of it.  Literally.  There are two more SpaceX launches tomorrow, the first from Vandenberg Space Force Base, SLC-4E, at 3:21 EDT and the later launch from Cape Canavaral Space Force Station SLC-40 at 7:38 PM EDT.  

Relativity Space has slipped the next attempt to launch their Terran-1 mission "Good Luck, Have Fun" until next Wednesday, March 22.  There have been other slips since their last attempt to launch, so consider that more tentative than usual.  It's a first launch ever for the company and the vehicle so schedule slips are not unusual.  (Do I need to link to the joke about Tom Jones syndrome?)


  1. So weird saying 'Space Force Base,' isn't it?

    1. The part that gets me is one wants to be a Space Force Base and the other a Space Force Station. Can't they agree on one or the other?

    2. Patrick was an Air Force Base while Canaveral was an Air Force Station. I think it has something to do with the size of the support structure of the location. Bases have hospitals, golf courses, base exchanges, package stores (segregated by occifers/noncomoccifers/enlisted, clubs the same, and housing.

      Stations have a couple toilets, maybe temp quarters for those stationed there for the week or two weeks (military shift work so to speak) and whatever facilities to support the needs of the station, fab shops, repair stuffs, whatever secret squirrel buildings to house secret squirrel stuffs and all that.

      Vandenberg is a full-up base with a rail line, housing, hospitals, all the needs of a town or small city and with the launch facilities and an airfield.

      Canaveral is just... a lot of empty space with roads, some toilets, some other buildings and launch facilities. No housing to speak of, no other amenities past maybe a couple vending machines.

      Base can have stations as part of their structure but separated by fences or distance, stations can be part of bases or separate completely and the poor schmucks assigned to said station have to 'camp out' in temporary quarters (though some temp quarters can be right nice, they still are temp quarters and you don't carry all your stuffs to said temp quarters as you leave all that back at the base or off-base housing if you can/want to aford that expense.

      At one time, Patrick SFB used to be Patrick AFB which used to be the Banana River Naval Air Station (with lots of facilities but not really built up to a base level of baseness until turned over to the Air Force and made Patrick AFB. Neat thing is the boat ramp at the Morale and Recreation facility at Patrick is the original Banana River NAS seaplane ramp. The Martin PBM Mariner Patrol Flying Boat that blew up during the search for the legendary Flight 19 (of UFO/Bermuda Triangle fame) flew from Banana River NAS. (The Mariner had an unfortunate but infrequent habit of blowing up for some reason, otherwise it was a fine plane, well, except for that explody thingy.)

    3. I think of the "Station" as a little base, not able to be a Base in it's own right. Still needing help and support. But, one day.... one day.... It may grow up to be a Base of it's own.
      The reality however, from my perspective, is that .mil "leadership*" doesn't like competition and the Station is too close to the pre-existing Base to ever be allowed to stand on it's own. Kingdoms and petty-Kingdoms..... It's the Air Force Way. ;)

  2. Every time I hear "Tom Jones", I think "Mars Attacks!"....

    1. Funny, I get the same feeling when I hear Slim Whitman. "When I'm calling yououuuouuuu...."

  3. Criminy, looks like SpaceX really IS trying to get that 200 launches/yr statistic!