Falcon Heavy When?

Starman by David Bowie. Not too original, had it blasting it all the promo material today, but man it’s perfect.


I feel pretty goddamn lucky that I already know another one of the days I’ll remember forver. Today SpaceX flew the first test of their ludicrous-by-film-standard rocket, the Falcon Heavy. This rocket had been delayed since 2013 (not that they would ever really hit that date), and the excitement has been building with every delay. I’ll admit, prior to working at Astranis, I didn’t really follow SpaceX that closely. Since joining however, I’ve been glued to their launch schedule. This launch had an insane number of things to keep you riveted:

  • Stupidly large amounts of thrust, due to having three rockets just strapped together
  • A payload consisting of an eccentric billionaire’s personal luxury car
  • And of course, they wanted to land all three rockets back on Earth

You really can’t make this stuff up - five years ago I would’ve this would be a decent near-future sci-fi movie plot. We have a few ex-SpaceX employees at work who ensured we were at an appropriate level of excitement. They’re normally pretty calm, laid-back people, but once we had the livestream on, they were clearly overfilling with bottled up energy and stress. I don’t blame them - everyone was. Trying to recapture my feelings into the primary sections of the launch…

Timeline

Lift Off

Is this going to happen? These are scrubbed most of the time? Are they really going for this? 3, 2, 1… that thing is going on fire. THAT THING IS GOING TO SPACE. Whaaaaaat. Everyone started yelling just because no matter what happened here, we were in for a show. Independent of sucess here, we all knew some shit was about to go down.

Separation

Small explainer here: you don’t need the three rockets the entire time, just most of the time. Once you get far enough into the launch process, you remove the booster rockets. This was the first part unique to the Falcon Heavy - you have three massive rockets going up, but they separate into three pieces here. More screaming, more excitement, more HOLY SHIT THEY JUST LET GO OF TWO ROCKETS AND THEY’RE DROPPING THEM ON EARTH.

Payload

This is where we knew things where just a surreal, beautiful fantasy. The rocket has to carry something to be useful. What was that something? Elon Musk’s personal Tesla Roadster, with a stunt dummy to drive along. I’d seen the videos on Instagram/Twitter, but no one knew what to really expect. You know what I didn’t expect? A crystal clear, beautiful image of a car setting sail to Mars, with David Bowie blasting in the background. I started failing to process things here - this can’t be real, this can’t be happening? What am I watching? Is this CGI?

Landing

Just after we’d calmed down from the Tesla being deployed, one other thing came sneaking back. Remember those other two rockets that just “got dropped off”? Well they have to go somewhere, and they’re going back to Earth. SpaceX isn’t going to just let them crash, no, they’re going to land them goddamnit. They had the livestream of the two boosters getting closer and closer to Earth - no, this can’t be real, this can’t be happening. And then they DID IT. THEY LANDED BOTH OF THE GODDAMN BOOSTER IN PERFECT SYMMETRY. NOWAY. HOWHOWHOW.

screaming

laughing

furiously mentally snapshotting every moment that I can because I’m not sure if I’ll get to see something like this again

Shout out to all the amazing engineers at SpaceX who made this happen. I know one of them (you fucking GO Kashev) but my jaw is just on the floor still.

Keeping It Forever

With any luck, SpaceX will launch the Falcon Heavy dozens or more times in the future. They’ll hopefully make several new rockets that have ideas that I can’t even comprehend right now - ideas that are too absurd for me to even imagine. If I’m really fortunate, I’ll get to see some of them in my lifetime. But that’s just getting greedy, I already have one moment now. The hard part now is to not burn out on it - how do I keep this little spark in me alive?

Like all things, moderation will help. It’s a crutch I can rely on when I need it, but I can’t abuse it. I have a couple other things like this, but they’re mostly songs, just a couple videos. Future blog post should be compiling them - that’d be super fun! I think it’ll be pretty easy to mentally desensitive myself to the video, although the other videos I have are definitely still effective. I guess I should be a bit more specific about what I mean here…

For certain pieces of media, they just hit me in a particular way. They get my heart pumping, my blood rushing, my brain ticking. It’s like an insane inspirational high that just lets me go out work. I know, I know, some of you are probably saying that’s a waste - why spend it on work? I mean work as in be productive, focused, creative, motivated, etc., not necessarily limited to the 8-5 gig. Stuff like this launch is just a massive well I can energy from and just get pumped man. I just love that feeling so much - it puts the stupidest grin on my face and I love whatever I’m doing.

Timing out now [this was a pseudo-forced post] because it’s just rambling about feeling good. Happy Falcon Heavy Day y’all, hope you can remember it forever =)

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