Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Dragon Flies To Space

No, that's not the title of my new fantasy/sci-fi mashup. It's a true story and it happened this morning in Florida.

(Wow, I've never embedded a video before. That was super easy.)

Space Exploration Technologies, or Spacex, just successfully launched their seventh rocket, the second of the Falcon 9 vehicles. This was a test flight carrying their Dragon capsule, the world's first commercial spacecraft and a contender to replace the space shuttle in ferrying astronauts and supplies to the International Space Station. The Dragon was successfully deployed and is currently making a few orbits, due to splash down in the Pacific in about an hour. What a great image--there is a Dragon orbiting the Earth.

For over six years now, I've had a courtside seat to the development of this remarkable company. Many of the engineers who worked on these rockets were fresh out of college or grad school, and they have pushed themselves like madmen, making countless personal sacrifices. They believe in the work they're doing and the advances they're making in the industry, and honestly, can you get a better thrill than watching a nine-engine rocket you helped design and build lifting off a pad in the birthplace of American spaceflight? They are all amazing, brilliant people.

Persistence is the key here. I'm not going to give you a rundown of all the past launches, but number one only got a mile high, and came crashing back down into the coral reefs of the Pacific island it was launched from. The engineers could feel the explosion several miles away, and I've got it on good authority that a few tears were shed. So they tried again, and again, and when number four finally succeeded, I was leaking at the eyes myself.

So this morning as I was huddled up in my hotel room, watching the live feed on my cell phone, what I was thinking was, Damn, they're getting kinda good at this. Persistence and practice.

Congrats Spacex, and all you hardworking engineers. I couldn't be prouder of you. And if I may take a second to brag, one of the voices in this video belongs to my rockstar husband. Congrats, sweetie. Now come home.

1 comment:

  1. A Post-Script: Just got the text from my husband--the Dragon made a successful water landing. This was its first flight ever. Looks like there is going to be some celebrating this weekend :)