Did yoouuu seee thaaaat?
Elon Musk is a whack job and a total genius. Even if it’s not his mind that created that rocketship that took those four civilian explorers into space Wednesday, it was his mind that created the notion – that created the institution – that created the funding – that created the new designs for rocket fuel and o-rings and computers – that resulted in what was nothing less than the largest step into the future of space travel our generation MAY ever see.
I was blown away. And you should have been blown away as well.
In less than six minutes those four brave souls strapped themselves onto 1 million pounds of rocket fuel, and with thumbs up (from two of the astronauts – the other two had to have been wiggin’ out) shot straight out into the darkness of space that is soon to become a strip mall.
And you know Starbucks is going to anchor that sucker.
But on some mission of fate, I stepped out of the office for a bite to eat downstairs and the network had a live feed of this launch on, and it was about a minute 30 from take off. In that 90 seconds, Chris Hayes, literally was All In, and he brought us up to speed on what was happening.
I’m not even sure I can put into words how I felt about that moment. I know my mouth and eyes were wide open. Four people in a remote controlled rocket -no onboard pilot – were going to spin around the earth 45 times in the three days and then come back down and land, I believe, on a remote-controlled platform in the middle of an ocean.
Folks, we officially are the Jetsons.
About a minute into the liftoff, which by all comparison is an vast understatement, this Falcon 9’s booster rockets separated. I think they call it B-SEP (for booster separation – I’m the jack of all trades and king of none). Anyhow, the things had cameras on the outside by what looked like aluminum flaps. I think you use aluminum alloy because it can take a lot of heat, but cools quickly. See? Jack of all trades.
Anyway, these cameras recorded the whole descent back to earth of these floating fuel canisters. Really BIG canisters. Oh…and they have boosters on them to allow the things to land VERTICALLY on the platform. SpaceEx actually is working to have these boosters ready for reuse – ready to send more civilians into space – within HOURS of recapturing them.
I can see it now. They land these things on this platform, a little guy in a wet suit with a DX logo on the lapel, runs out with a hose, opens a flap, sticks a spout into a hole, and then runs back and pulls a handle on the dispenser that runs up a charge for the fill-up – swipes an AmEx card. He probably has a red cloth hanging from his back pocket and is chewing Wrigley’s.
Back to the inner part of outer space, like where the space station is.
So 24 hours into this orbiting, after aligning with the launch location, a second booster falls off and this too is recaptured remotely and landed safely back on earth. It’s just amazing, and I hate that word with a passion. Not the word itself, it’s never done anything to me, it’s just never done anything for me.
Anyway, so they recapture all this launch equipment and reuse it, and then they recapture the space travelers.
As I watched these four souls launched at speeds that exceeded 10,000 mph, one thing entered my mind. What would I be like inside one of those suits at that moment? First of all, I would never be in one of those suits. I don’t even like a five-wide 767. So let’s be clear about that. This reporter would only get in one of those seats strapped in, if it was taking me to my daughter.
Aside from that, what that camera would catch of my 6’3″ frame in plastic white garb and a helmet – is nothing. I would be so passed out they’d think I was dead.
My youngest brother Mike would do that trip in a heartbeat. He has no fear of the unknown. Once in the Smoky Mountains, he rode in one of those bubble choppers above the mountains and told the pilot, “You know, if you want me to take over the pedals or anything, just say so.”
He got a quick No Thanks on that, but – whaaaaat? Why would you – no training? Just let’s see what this feels like, or what? Those aren’t like a go-cart. Idiot.
I once saw a video of him riding in one of those rides that spins way up into the sky on this single erector set thingy and then holds up there until gravity pulls it back down – really fast!. My oldest daughter was on the ride with him in the seat and she was so scared it scared me.
I was watching –on video – and had both fists over my face. This nutbar brother of mine gets up to the top where it holds you for a second and has his arm around my daughter. Good – someone at least to comfort her.
He looks at her with his other thumb and forefinger on his chin as if in thought and says, “Umm I think it’s broken,” and my daughter, who’s like 17 at the time, screams at him. He laughs and says, “NOPE” and down they fall. I almost peed myself in the fear of watching my oldest daughter plunge to the earth while this mad man laughed all the way down, only to get another rotation to the top.
I’m so happy I didn’t know this when they got off the ride. I woulda pummeled him on the spot. He may have 50 pounds on me, but he has no legs.
Mike would go into space. Chuck would not go into space.
It’s frightening, but awesome and inspiring at the same time, to actually see these things take place. Talk about your bucket lists. I saw Michael Bublé in Moline this week and checked something off.
This stuff is epic.
But God Bless those souls that are currently hurling at about 16,000 miles per hour around the earth. What a view that must be, and Godspeed on the return home. I can’t wait to read about it – But that’s Beside the Point.