Hi all, did you watch? I don't think I've been this nervous, since, well ever. Anyway if you didn't watch, everything went great. The two astronauts are now successfully in Earth orbit, heading for their rendezvous with the International Space Station scheduled for 7:29AM tomorrow morning. And they also have an Apatosaurus aboard, more on that below.
SpaceX continue to broadcast live, I'm watching the Earth slooowly pass beneath the Dragon on its way “up” to the ISS.
And so it begins … about an hour before liftoff, the clouds are clearing and all is in readiness…
Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley arrive at the launch pad (in a Tesla Model X, of course):
All is ready at NASA mission control at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida:
T – 14 minutes, the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. SpaceX did an interview with Gwen Shotwell, COO of SpaceX. Cannot believe she was so calm although she said she wasn't. She doesn't get enough credit for running SpaceX day-to-day. Her final thought: "thanks Elon for hiring me" :)
And so finally after all the preparation and waiting, it’s showtime! T -0, a huge blast of flame, and liftoff!
At T +2:42, it’s time for first stage separation. Went off without a hitch. With picture quality like this you have to remind yourself, this is real, not a movie.
At T +5:58 we have the cool split view we're used to with SpaceX launches; on the left the view inside the capsule, note the Earth :), and on the right the view looking down from the first stage rocket, fins extended, on its way down back down to land.
SpaceX “mission control” in Hawthorne, CA … everyone wearing masks.
T +8 minutes, the first stage rocket doing its landing burn.
Woo hoo! They stick the landing on the “of course I still love you” barge in the Atlantic. In other missions this would be the huge success, but in this one it is just a sideshow. Note the monitor above the astronauts showing their position in orbit. Looks a bit like a Tesla GPS :)
Ten minutes after launch, the astronauts are orbiting Earth and weightless. To prove it, they floated a small inflatable Apatosaurus named Trimmer. Do not know if NASA had cleared this beforehand; presumably, yes. Expect your kid to want one.
T +11 – stage 2 separation. The Dragon is now on its own… traveling at 27,000 k/h at an altitude of 200km. Whee
And finally, a cool “interview” with the astronauts including a tour of the inside of the capsule. The slight transmission delay was evident, but otherwise audio clear as a bell. Certainly the A/V is good enough for telehealth!
Oh, and the great reveal: astronauts Bob and Doug have named their vehicle Endeavor. And indeed it is.
Cheers and onward!