Sunday, June 4, 2023

On This Date in Space

This morning around 8:30 ET, while having coffee and trying to gain consciousness, we heard a rumbling and quickly realized that the SpaceX launch we thought had happened earlier in the morning was delayed and that was what we were hearing.  Unfortunately, the sound doesn't get here until the rocket is far enough downrange that it's ordinarily either gone or just a tiny light in the sky.  

Today is a special day in SpaceX history, because June 4, 2010 was the first successful Falcon 9 launch making today the 13th anniversary of that milestone.  The first launch almost didn't happen this day due to an issue with the Flight Termination System that took most of their four hour launch window to resolve, but it eventually flew.  

Don't let anyone convince you that the first launch of a complex vehicle is assured.  I'm sure there was plenty of "pucker factor" to go around as they worked through their issues.  There was plenty of pressure to perform as the still-young company had a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. 

I remember doing a story on the 10 year anniversary of the Falcon, but that was the first flight of the Falcon 1.  That 10 year anniversary was September 30, 2018, so in the less than two years between September 2008 and June of 2010, SpaceX went from a booster powered by one Merlin engine to the nine of the Falcon 9.  From that itty bitty booster on the left of the family tree to the second one, the first Falcon 9.  I also did a post on the 10th anniversary of the first Falcon 9 launch three years ago today.

Today's flight was the Block 5 Falcon 9 - 2nd from the right - as they have been for a while now. 

There were supposed to be two such launches today, with the second being a Cargo Dragon, CRS28 to the ISS.  That was pushed to tomorrow due to high winds at the recovery drone ship.  It's an instantaneous launch window at 11:47 AM ET.  It's another small coincidence that the first flight 13 years ago was carrying a prototype Dragon Capsule. 




  1. Musk may be a strange guy, but he hired the right people at SpaceX to get the job done. There has been a lot of progress in these last thirteen years at SpaceX, which is more than I can say for NASA.

    1. There's a saying that best managers find the best person for the job and then leave them alone to do it.

      Whoever the "the father of the Falcon" was, that guy deserves some sort of award from the industry.

      It's mind-blowing that this week we were talking about SpaceX doubling the number of successful launches of the Delta. That was 200. They're on the verge of having successfully landed 200 boosters.

    2. Whoever the father/mother of the Falcon was, he/she deserves to be remembered by people.

    3. As to Musk being a strange guy, he's strange like so many of the founders of great aerospace companies, like Howard Hughes, or William Boeing, or Allan Loeghead (Lockheed) or Kelly Johnson (who made an aviation company inside of an aviation company) or Alexander Seversky or the Wright Brothers or Edsel Ford (son of Henry and Edsel basically ran Ford Aviation) or Fokker or so many others. All were 'get your hands dirty' and 'sleep on the shop floor in the middle of a rush build' type of executives and decidedly not boardroom chair squatters.

    4. Or Igor Sikorsky!

  2. Imagine if Goddard or Von Braun were alive today!!