Friday, June 04, 2010

Video Del Fuego, Part XXVIII

"It's almost a certainty that a man-rated Dragon will taste hard vacuum long before any version of Orion does, and by a margin of not less than eighteen months." -- 7/1/2009

Aaaaand ... stop the clock. My man Elon delivered the goods. Earlier today, the first Falcon 9 booster put a Dragon test capsule into orbit.

I was crossing my fingers up to second stage engine ignition, because if anything's going to go wrong, it'll probably go wrong before then. Everything looked good, though.

One thing to point out: after staging, you'll see the second stage engine's nozzle glowing red. That's not necessarily a bad thing, since this engine is radiatively cooled. Other engines, such as the Space Shuttle's, pass cold fuel and/or oxidizer through pipes in the nozzle for cooling, but this adds weight and complexity to the engine, making it more expensive. Radiative cooling is substantially cheaper, especially for an engine you only plan to use once. You'll also see a smaller engine in the foreground, which can slew back and forth for attitude control.

Another amusing thing about the news coverage: Fox News, of all people, are complaining about a private firm not being as forthcoming with PR info as an agency of the Federal government. Ah, the irony...

Bonus: Here is a link to SpaceX's own highlights video. You get a much better view of staging here than in the live feed.

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