Sunday, May 31, 2020

America is back in space

My Photo
After two weeks on the road catching up on various jobs, I got back home yesterday to find I was so bloody tired that I slept for ten hours and missed SpaceX's second attempt at launching astronauts to the ISS, which happened at about 7am this morning NZ Time.

And it all went swimmingly. After nine long years, America is back in space, and thanks to spreading the load beyond NASA to private companies, I don't think we're going to see another gap like that in US launching ever again.

In my previous article on this I made the point that the names for the ship-type and mission were a bit lame, but it seems the two astronauts on the flight decided to give their spacecraft a specific name, in line with the Apollo and Space Shuttle missions.  

They've named it Endeavour, after Captain Cook's famous vessel of exploration, and also because of Space Shuttle's Endeavour. Like those ships, this one is intended to be used multiple times.

You can watch 14 minutes of launch highlights here on the following YouTube clip, which runs from 24 seconds before launch to the separation of the second stage at 200km altitude and 27,000km/h.

After that, the Dragon is headed for the ISS, where it will dock at 10.27amEDT tomorrow morning (2:27am NZ time). If they keep to that schedule it means the docking will happen only ten minutes before the ISS and Dragon fly over NZ, though they will not be visible.

You can continue to watch the flight live here at SpaceX's website, as the Dragon chases after the ISS, steadily raising their altitude until they're ready to dock. The diagram below shows the overall approach.

And the next diagram shows all the little maneuvers they'll use in the final approach:

Amazing the things America can do even in the middle of a pandemic.


captainofthegate said...

Elon's off the cuff jibe at Rogozin during the super serious suit and tie conference after the launch: "Trampoline is working, hahahaha." Joyous.

During the depths of the Russia Gate nonsense in 2014, Russian space boss Rogozin told US to take a flying leap and get to space using trampolines.

Interesting that Russia has become an orthodox Christian nation after 80 years of direct Bolshevik attack on morality. They will no doubt be reaping all the benefits that comes with that operating system, in the great game.

Tom Hunter said...

And the docking was also successful.