00:05 PST San Diego, CA - T-minus 44 minutes and counting.

SpaceX attempts second COTS demonstration space flight.

NASA Announcer: The dragon capsule will xport 1200 lbs of mass. Will spend one week attached to the ISS. The ISS astronauts will exchange the contents with experiments, modules, and waste to be returned to earth.

Then a pause. Quiet time. I am watching a live feed of the rocket on its pad. Night time launches are the best. You get a clear site of the rocket and its pad at lift off.

Final configuration for launch confirmed. T-minus 40 minutes. Final Setup procedures are in process. Now they start the launch poll. I only catch parts of the exchange. Flight hazard road blocks in place. RC downrange tracking ready to proceed. Rock VC on Countdown 1. Range status proceeding. Verify winds aloft and ground winds within limits.

No critical errors in software. Proceeding. And a pause. And the countdown continues. Already the process has raised my blood pressure. Then flight control says, "Proceeding with in YOTA? Or was that YODA?"


Then a very long pause...

I get a chance to look at the video of the rocket, lox drifting away from the over pressure valves. Reminds me of the Gemini missions when I was a kid, but with way better video!

Announcer: T-Minus 30 Minutes and counting. At time of launch the space station will be over Newfoundland. The Dragon will race to catch up with the station and deliver its load 10:05 Friday.

735,000 pounds total weight. That gets you to orbit...

Shifting to blog comment mode!

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Jerry Hilburn May 22, 2012 @ 12:30 a.m.

T- Minus 20 Minutes. Long quiet pause as we close in on launch. I finally got on the G+ SpaceX stream going.

Looks like we are go for flight!

T - Minus 14 Minutes and counting. 9:49 seconds after launch the Dragon capsule separates from the rocket body and becomes a satellite in earth orbit.

Nature calls. BRB!!


Jerry Hilburn May 22, 2012 @ 12:35 a.m.

Ok here we go All stations are called on to give status. The LC rapidly cuts through a list of department heads asking for go or no go. A bunch of "go's" later its a GO!!!

And now everyone is ready to go. At T-minus 10 minutes automatic launch procedures are initiated. Some reads off a complex set of rules for reporting hold, hold, hold!

Mark! VC announces sequence has started. RC reports clock has started. Launch enable the flight. Clock is counting.

Here we GO!!!!


Jerry Hilburn May 22, 2012 @ 12:42 a.m.

T-minus 7 minutes...

First stage fuel bleed open...

Vehicle is in self alignment...

T-minus 6 minutes...

Stage 2 fuel bleed started

T-minus 5 minutes

Stage One an Stage Two auto sequence started...

FTS on internal power

FTBBC complete

T-minus 3 minutes.


Flight positions ready.

LD verify go for launch. Launch director is GO for launch....


Jerry Hilburn May 22, 2012 @ 12:45 a.m.

The Range gives a Green for go!

The rocket is fuming! Amazing launch site!

T-Minus 1 minute the vehicle is in start up, the computer is in charge of the flight now!











Jerry Hilburn May 22, 2012 @ 12:52 a.m.

Oh man! They did it.

It is so beautiful. Against that night sky. 3 minutes in, the bird is approaching MICO 1, Main engine cutoff. Everything is nominal. The second stage engine is burning now. They have a camera on the cone of the engine and it is glowing bright pink.

Stage two propulsion systems nominal. Absolutely amazing to be watching the booster engine running live!, across the Internet, from space. This is the future of space. A Live Feed to your cell phone, from probes that traverse our solar system, and bring you into the loop!

The Dragon is moving now at 4 kilometers a second.

Thank you SpaceX...

Love your show!


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