T Minus 1 Hour 1 Minute and 17 Seconds this is Falcon Launch Control!

So like the geek I am, I am up late on a early Saturday morning waiting for the launch of the Falcon 9 mission to the International Space Station. A historic night in the history of human spaceflight, and one that is sure to be remembered by a very few. But dammit, I am gonna witness it live, or as live as you can on the Internet, that is for sure...

Tonight marks the moment when small business USA enters the space race courtesy of a living Genius. Elon Musk is a South African born inventor, engineer and entrepreneur best known for co-founding PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. He is currently the CEO and Chief Designer of SpaceX, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and Chairman of SolarCity.

Tonight, marks his first step towwards a vision of putting humans on Mars. First we haul some cargo to the Space Station, and if that works, lets reach for Mars. You have to admire the vision, and if you're truly hard core, you stay up late to see historical moments like this one tonight. I grew up in the 60's of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, and have always loved space flight. But my kids, forget about it. Yours to I bet.

T-Minus 55 minutes and counting. The announcer comes online with rep from SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell who is providing us a tour via a Video of the process of getting the Falcon 9 off the ground. It's 1:10 Am PST and the live video on the SpaceX site is 16 minutes away from firing up. The Dragon capsule is a fascinating piece of equipment:

Wikipedia notes: The Dragon is a reusable spacecraft developed by SpaceX, a private space transportation company based in Hawthorne, California in the United States of America. During its uncrewed maiden flight in December 2010, it became the first commercially-built and operated spacecraft ever to be recovered successfully from orbit. Tonight it flies to the ISS...

T-Minus 40 Minutes - TCI ready for Vechicle Release. CE prepare for poll. Proceed. And now step by step all stations report status for launch. You can hear the tension, but professional nature of the communications between the launch team as they run through the checklist. I love the countdown process. Entering Zero to skip. RC reports downrange tracking networks ready to go. ROC reports range status as proceeding. GMC verifies winds aloft and ground winds are acceptable. Software consoles have no verifiable errors. Pause...

I have three screens in my cockpit here at the house. On the left I am waiting for the SpaceX site to go live with its coverage. I have Google Plus going because the people that run SpaceX are live and commenting in G+. Sorry Facebook, but if you want to be playing ball with realtime, you gotta go G+. 20% chance now of launch problems due to weather, but knowing these guys we are GOING!!!

I am live blogging this on my main screen. On my right NASA TV is live.

01:35 AM Now we have a live feed from SpaceX. A very perky Jessica is taking us through the launch. John Insprucker is now telling us about his 30 years of experience launching birds. This is something special tonight, boom or bust, the commercial space age is live on the net. Now Kevin Brogan is introduced, working for SpaceX since 2003, a senior staff engineer. JEssica Jensen tonights speaker leading the group is actually a Manager of the space dynamics team, and is a scientist in her own right. All three are down to earth hard core space engineers, but affable, and able to tell a story we can follow!

More like this:


Jerry Hilburn May 19, 2012 @ 1:33 a.m.

01:35AM - Looking good at this point for launch!


Jerry Hilburn May 19, 2012 @ 1:38 a.m.

01:40 AM - We're 15 minutes away. The team at SpaceX is going through some informational detail about the rocket. NASA is now broadcasting live as well. The ISS is at 250 miles above the earth over Labrador.... Dragon has to chase it down to dock.


Jerry Hilburn May 19, 2012 @ 1:50 a.m.

01:50AM Five minutes to launch. SpaceX site is still live, but NASA TV has crashed. Rebooting the browser and hoping it works! Come on Nasa! Still go for liftoff!


Jerry Hilburn May 19, 2012 @ 1:52 a.m.

Launch conductor does the poll. Can't keep up with it. Everyone is go! We are lighting this Candle. Clear to proceed to terminal count. We now see a live shot of the rocket, and the game is afoot!


Jerry Hilburn May 19, 2012 @ 1:57 a.m.

Clock is running. OX bleeds open. 1 Minute to flight. 1st / 2nd stage are pressurized. T-minus 20 seconds.

Oh no! Launch abort!!!! LOL...

No flight, no flight!


Jerry Hilburn May 19, 2012 @ 2:01 a.m.

And so not with a bang, but a whimper, the launch ends for tonight. Back to the drawing board. At least we have tomorrow!

Hey, don't forget the eclipse Sunday!!!!

jerry out...


Ruth Newell May 19, 2012 @ 10:14 a.m.

Jerry, this was great fun to read. And informative--love Elon's work!


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