Thursday, January 31, 2013

L- 2hrs, 20 minutes, and counting

They started filling the launch vehicle with LOX and Kerosene, and all is proceeding well.

Gonna get pretty busy here, so see you all tomorrow!


  1. I heard a Kaboom....

  2. Heard y'all lost it a minute or two into flight. Not the first one of those that did t work right...

  3. Don't tell us you launched a submarine!

  4. Too bad, Jim. I just read an account of the launch at:

  5. Yeah, we put one in the drink.

    Engine was shut down by the Flight Termination System about 20 seconds after launch. The vehicle continued to climb (that 'momentum' thing...) for another 5 seconds or so, and then came down and belly-flopped into the Pacific at about L+50 seconds.

    It went BOOM really loud, as it landed about 2.4 km away from us, and between us and the platform.

    The people up on deck said it was probably a good thing it wasn't a day time launch, as they ALL would have needed clean underwear after seeing it headed TOWARDS us.

    Spaceflight is (still) a risky business. Things fail for a variety of reasons, and it always ends in a most spectacular fashion.

    We're all OK (except for the underwear thing) and both ships are completely undamaged, except for some brown spots on the starboard side upper decks.

  6. It's a risky business and an expensive business. Very intolerant of screwups.

    It really sucks when they fall over on the pad. You don't want to be anywhere near that.

    Good to hear everyone is well, if a little shaken.

  7. Yeah, we had one do that.

    The NSS-8 launch had the engine fire, come up to full thrust, and the clamps released.

    It rose about 18", and then the main engine turbopump came apart, resulting in the immediate loss of thrust.

    It dropped down through the pad into the flame bucket, hit the gas deflector, knocking it off the ship, and broke up.

    The fireball was about 600' in diameter, and completely obscured the launch platform. We didn't even know if it was still afloat until the smoke cleared, about 10~15 seconds later.

    Took us a year to get things rebuilt and go back out and launch again.

    They already know why this one did what it did, and now they have to get down to the Root Cause, and determine how *that* happened.

  8. Just like aviation - hours and hours of boredom punctuated by fleeting moments of terror.

  9. Yep, that it is.

    I still have the hair on the back of my neck go up when we get down to about L-5 minutes or so. Things are getting really busy for me then, and by L-30 seconds we're committed, and it WILL launch.

    Whether it works correctly or not is out of our hands, and we're just hanging on for the ride!

    This particular satellite took almost 3 years to build, and the crew that came with us to monitor it had been with it all the way.

    To us it's "just another payload", but to them it was their pride and joy, and some of them took it pretty hard. Most of them have been out with us before, so we know them pretty well, and understand their loss.

    1. I've only worked on a few satellites but I know that feeling.

      Still, I'd rather see it end up in the drink or in a monstrous fireball than know that my screw-up killed the satellite.


Keep it civil, please....