As a little boy, I wanted to be an astronaut, not uncommon for young boys. As since I grew up in Florida, we visited Cape Kennedy (it has now reverted back to its original name of Cape Canaveral, and the Kennedy Space Center has been built for tourists) several times. Looking at the rockets that came back, everything from the original Mercury capsules and the giant Saturn 5 rockets that took us to the moon (or did they? – think I’ve been watching too many X-Files), and especially the Shuttles kept the wonder alive for me. But I have to admit, over the last years, as NASA has constantly had their budget cut and less and less space programs are originating here in the USA, my interest has waned.
But today we have another “big boy” launch. The Falcon 9 Heavy. This excites me. I worked at Cape Canaveral for a short time (it was cut short by 9/11 when my sub-contract was terminated as many others were). And if I’m not mistaken, this was the launch pad I worked on.
But one thing I find almost humorous is that Elon Musk (@ElonMusk) has put one of his Telsa Roadsters, with a “spaceman” in the driver seat (no one is in the suit, in case you were concerned). The mission, as I understand it, is not only a real test of the Falcon 9 Heavy engines but to travel to Mars.
Not only is this cool as hell, it reminds me of one my all-time favorite movies, “Heavy Metal“. This animated movie, released in 1981 (not good for little children – see the link), starts off with a spaceman leaving orbit in a 1959 Corvette and reentering earth.
This intro always intrigued me. It was obvious that no one could survive such a reentry, but what the hell, it’s a cartoon, and we well know that physics do not apply in the world of cartoons. I was down with it. Now, this Telsa Roadster will sadly, not be landing on Mars just left orbiting for eternity. Still a cool accomplishment.
So now we have a roadster blasting off into space, or as Elon said: “it blows up in a million little pieces”. It could go either way, this is the first launch of this rocket model. And no matter how much testing they put it through, it’s still a bit of a crapshoot.
If you want to watch the launch from the comfort of where ever you’re reading this, the launch window is 1:30 – 4:00 PM EST. You can watch the live webcast at the SpaceX website (along with a host of other sites). The feed usually goes live about an hour prior to the launch window opening.
I’ll be watching, hope you can too!