Friday, March 28, 2014

*Slightly* Sad Today.....

Well, the launch vehicle transfer went smooth today, and since I had a ton of stuff to do, I stayed on the ship. About 1300 they started to move it back to the east side of the pier, and it struck me......

This was probably the last time I'll be on that ship when she moves under her own power.

Since she's tied down to the pier until she leaves Thursday morning, and I'm not going with her, I felt a twinge of sadness.

I've been out on 16 launches, and at a "nominal" 20 days per launch, that's 320 days at sea I spent on her.

Add up the two times we went on sea trials (10 days each), and the four missions that ran to 30 days due to weather, launch aborts, and other delays, and I've spent well over a year at sea on her.

Oh, well, life goes on.........


  1. When you spend that much time around something and do it daily for extended periods you get a sense of familiarity being there and you will quite understandably miss that.

    Not to mention the sense of accomplishment when everything gets down to the nitty gritty finally and all goes well.

    I hope you get a bit of R&R before you fall over from exhaustion, those kinds of hours consecutively will get ya.

    I know I have been falling asleep in my chair a couple times a day just trying to get caught up from last week.

    Good luck sir.

  2. Yep, you spend a year out at sea with the same group of people, and you definitely "bond" with them.

    Good times, bad times, storms and rough weather, launch failures and successes tend to do that.

  3. You've put your time in, somebody else's turn...

  4. Like Phil was saying, you spend that much time doing the job with the same folks and it grows on you.

    How many years with the same basic mission? Same ship (I assume)?

  5. I started there in 2004 as a Boeing employee. At that time Boeing owned 49% of the consortium, and ran all the technical operations except for the launch vehicle stuff. Boeing also builds the "Payload Accommodation", which is the fairing (nose cone) and the Interface Structure, Payload Support, and all the avionics associated with the payload.

    I was laid off in November 2009, and called back about 16 months later for the new owners (Energia) who swooped in with a bunch of money and a business plan, and got the Chapter 11 court's approval.

    This would have been my sixth mission for the new owners. We ran 5, and the fifth one was a failure, winding up at the bottom of the Pacific. The hydraulic pump that's used to gimbal the first stage engines failed at liftoff, and since the flight control system determined it was an unrecoverable situation, it shut the first stage engines off 30 seconds after liftoff in order to give the launch vehicle time to clear the platform.

    I was also on the NSS-8 mission, where the first stage turbo pump disintegrated about 1 second after the clamps released, and the whole shebang dropped down through the flame bucket on the launch pad, and went BOOM!


Keep it civil, please....