So close. The Starship launch was scrubbed today in the last few minutes. Some unexplained “pressurization issue” with stage one Super Heavy stopped the launch. Next attempt – possibly Wednesday morning. It takes 48 hours to drain the 10 million pounds of fuel (!!) and get ready to start over. Disappointing, but not that surprising.
I did learn some things by watching the SpaceX launch commentary.
- Everyone who works there looks young and shiny. SpaceX showed up about 20 years too late for me – otherwise I’d be living in Texas, politics be damned.
- Upcoming Lunar missions are being funded by a couple of billionaires in addition to Musk and NASA. The first manned Lunar orbit mission has all the crew members selected by their billionaire Japanese sponsor as part of a project called dearMoon. I have some vague unease as I read the bios of the people he selected out of millions who applied – artists, actors, photographers, Internet personalities, a snowboarder, etc. They’re all in the “cool creator” class. I can’t put my finger on why their selection bothers me a bit, other than jealousy. And there are no engineers, no pilots in the bunch. I suppose if something goes wrong they’ll document the hell out of it before they die.
- SpaceX has built an entire ecosystem in the Boca Chica area – vehicle assembly facilities, launch facilities, and housing for 1000+ employees. It’s quite a complex. I wonder if sea level rise is going to be an issue for them?
- Starship and Super Heavy use a different propellant than their now-reliable Falcon counterparts. Falcon boosters use kerosene, while Starship uses liquid methane.
I lost a bit of sleep last night over this, first waking up after midnight in anticipation, and then re-rousing myself at 530am to watch the launch. Totally worth it, and I’ll do it again in 2-3 days.