SpaceX Block5 Launch

Ok folks, this afternoon SpaceX will launch a satellite using its Block5 version of the Falcon 9 rocket. This version is planned to be reused 10 times whereas the current version only is reused once. They learn a lot from measuring the crap out of each launch, flight, and landing or crash. Each rocket is pretty much unique as they improve small things, try new things out, etc. This is a risky approach, so there’s always the chance of a spectacular failure, but for this launch, I expect things to be pretty nailed-down. They are landing on the fun-named “Of Course I Still Love You” droneship in the Atlantic, and those landings can sometimes be…exciting!

Launch is supposed to be 4:14 Eastern, but may be delayed or postponed. I may not be around to edit this post once it’s live, so others are free to edit or update, as appropriate.


Enjoy the launch,  folks!



44 replies
  1. 1
    efgoldman says:

    A headline would be nice

  2. 2
    The Dangerman says:

    Crud, not from Vandyland (though the weather to watch it if it were so blows; those that went to Lompoc for the Martian thing got to “hear” the launch and the weather today is similar).

    ETA: Launch video here:

  3. 3
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @efgoldman: efg, so needy, so sad!! Just joshing – when I made this post this morning, I was sleepy apparently. All fixed.

  4. 4

    inb4 complaints about private space travel and how rockets are dumb

  5. 5
    VeniceRiley says:

    “There’s no such thing as a free launch.”

    – me, because video is blocked at work.

  6. 6
    trollhattan says:

    It would seem Herr Musk is rather further along with his rocket business than his car business. Always nice to have a few irons in the fire. Guess I should write “fire.”

  7. 7
    Corner Stone says:

    Rockets are dumb.

    Awww, dammit.

  8. 8
    Mary G says:

    Here's John Kelly's maternal grandmother Teresa as a child in the 1900 census.Her father, a day laborer named John DeMarco had been here for 18 years.He had not become a citizen.He could not read, write, or speak English.#resistancegenealogy— Jennifer Mendelsohn (@CleverTitleTK) May 11, 2018

  9. 9
    Corner Stone says:

    @trollhattan: Ummm, one could…safely…assume that.
    Tragic fatal crash in Tesla Model S goes national because – Tesla
    Although, TBF, they both do catch fire pretty nicely.

  10. 10
    The Dangerman says:

    Better video link:

    ETA: Oops, this was in orginal post. Friday oops.

  11. 11
    Yutsano says:

    @Mary G: In order for the hypocrisy to work, they have to feel shame. I see no sign Kelly is capable of that.

  12. 12
    Mike J says:

    Scott Manly, who plays Kerbal Space Program on youtube for a living, has a great video explanation of the suicide burn used to land. Basically, full thrust for minimum time is the most efficient way to do it, and the computer doesn’t get nervous because it looks scary.

  13. 13
    JamesKPolkEsq says:

    F the Rockets, go Warriors!

  14. 14

    I thought Friday afternoons were for document dumps.

    Now we get rockets! Way, way cooler.

    @Mike J: “...and the computer doesn’t get nervous because it looks scary.”

    Feh, those computers. Such hotshots with the rockets. Everything is easier when you just plug in another quarter and hit “Play again.”

  15. 15


    Everything is easier when you just plug in another quarter and hit “Play again.”

    For rockets it’s F9.

  16. 16
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Major Major Major Major: good one! :)

  17. 17
    SgrAstar says:

    Love this, Alain. Thanks. I hope all jackals watched the astounding reentry of the Falcon Heavy boosters. Magnifique!

  18. 18
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @SgrAstar: I’m not sure why it took me so long to think of sharing my love of space exploration, rockets, etc. So thanks, it’s nice to hear that other folks are appreciating. With all the horrible, evil, crazy shit happening these days, it’s important to remember that we’re in an age of wonders, and, as the late, great Jack Horkheimer used to say, “Keep looking up!”

  19. 19
    Yarrow says:

    @Mary G: Oh, good! I was hoping someone would do that kind of digging on John Kelly. So…under his and Sessions’ preferred rules, Kelly isn’t a citizen because great-grandma and great-grandpa weren’t citizens. Were they here legally? Let’s find out! If not, then that further disqualifies him. Lock him up!

  20. 20

    @Alain the site fixer: my dad is really into SpaceX launches too, it’s a fun thing to bond over.

    He also sometimes asks me how I’m doing in Kerbal, lol

  21. 21
    Brachiator says:


    In order for the hypocrisy to work, they have to feel shame. I see no sign Kelly is capable of that.

    There are a couple of talk radio hosts whose parents were immigrants. They are huge Trump supporters and led a big rally for Trump, had cheerleading debate viewings for listeners, etc.

    The father of one host never really spoke English well.

    The roots of their Trump support is clearly racist. They insist that there are too many Latinos for the country to safely assimilate, and that immigrants are too poor and are a drain on the government and the economy.

    So, things are different now. Somehow. Magically. Not like their parents’ day.

  22. 22
    trollhattan says:

    Want feisty Dem candidates? How about the Albuquerque congressional candidate who begins an ad with “Fuck the NRA*”?

    *I approve this message.

  23. 23
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @Major Major Major Major: For me, it’s a family tradition. In 1969, my dad arranged months ahead of time to have leave from his job at the time in Alaska, and he spent the moon landing on the phone with my mother, who was in Tulsa at the time, both of them glued to tiny 13″ black and white televisions watching history. Since the web got going, I’ve been watching so much stuff from Nasa, and now SpaceX, and Blue Origin. And it’s only getting better – there are two or three other new companies also in this game and it’s exciting!

  24. 24
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Mary G: A day laborer. Couldn’t speak English after being here for 18 years. So I guess Kelly wouldn’t have let his own Grandfather into this country because he couldn’t “assimilate” and lacked a higher education, right?

  25. 25
    raven says:

    @Alain the site fixer: I was in Sydney on R&R that day. Have you ever seen “The Dish” about the Australian tracking station?

  26. 26
    Mary G says:

    Iran's supreme leader trolls Trump with photo of himself reading "Fire and Fury" days after Trump ends nuclear deal— The Hill (@thehill) May 11, 2018

    @raven: That is a charming movie.

  27. 27
    Roger Moore says:

    My favorite nonsense was when Ann Coulter used the “what if only people who had all four grandparents born in the US could vote” standard and predicted Trump would win under those rules, calmly ignoring that those rules would forbid any member of the Trump clan from voting. It’s one more sign that all the immigration hysteria is all about race and ethnicity and nothing about education and ability to assimilate.

  28. 28
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @raven: yes, thanks for reminding me of it!

  29. 29
    Yarrow says:

    @raven: I love that movie! Patrick Warburton is great in it. The whole cast is excellent.

  30. 30
    different-church-lady says:

    OK, not to be a killjoy here, but Space X really needs a lot more Gene Kranz and a lot less beard-bro metro.

  31. 31
    different-church-lady says:

    @Mary G: Right, so basically we give him a Peace Prize for avoiding a nuke war with North Korea and then take it away for blundering into one with Iran?

  32. 32
    RobertDSC-iPhone 6 says:

    @Mary G:


  33. 33
    eclare says:

    @raven: The Dish is at different times a hysterical, sweet, and touching movie. Love it.

  34. 34
    trollhattan says:

    I’m not sure our home-grown Nazis understand that thing some call optics.

    Jason Kessler, the extremist behind last year’s violent alt-right “Unite the Right” rally at which a counter-protester was killed, said that if he is denied a permit to host an anniversary event in Charlottesville, Virginia, this summer that activists will demonstrate outside of the White House instead.

    Kessler applied for a permit to host another Unite the Right rally last year, but the city of Charlottesville denied his request, citing a “danger to public safety.” He is currently suing Charlottesville, arguing that the city is suppressing his First Amendment rights and is to blame for the violence that occurred at last year’s event. The University of Virginia has also banned Kessler from organizing on their campus.

    …He then told Gariépy that he has a backup plan if his lawsuit against Charlottesville fails.

    “I do have a backup plan, for people who have been asking, and that is going to be in front of the White House. So, if Charlottesville denies our permit for any reason, it’s not safe, we’re going to get in vans and we’re going to go to Lafayette Park in front of the White House,” Kessler said.

    Please proceed, Sparky.

  35. 35
    SFBayAreaGal says:

    My mom was a space enthusiast. Anything and everything about Nasa. She collected the flight patches the crew wore, newspaper articles, etc. She was also a big science fiction fan. I and my brother inherited her love for space and science fiction.

    She was disappointed when NASA stopped going to the moon. She understood why. She kept hoping that we would one day land a person on Mars.

  36. 36
    Mary G says:

    What we could have had – a snippet of HRC speaking in Australia:

    .@HillaryClinton talking about the ramifications of ‘democratic backsliding’ in our region #HillaryClinton18 Lines I’ve heard before but incredibly impactful to hear it delivered by such a powerful global leader.— Ally Lynch (@_allylynch) May 10, 2018

  37. 37
    Mike J says:

    @trollhattan: Cool. Hope they show up outside the White House with their AR-15s. Looking forward to gun enthusiasts meeting the Secret Service.

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @Mary G: I comfort myself with the recognition that we wouldn’t have had the maturity or discipline to appreciate a Hillary presidency.

  39. 39
    Mary G says:

    @Baud: True enough.

  40. 40
    SgrAstar says:

    @different-church-lady: respectfully disagree! The very young spacex engineers who narrate the launches are a part of the story. The yoof are doing the heavy lifting to upend convention here, and they deserve the spotlight. Once you get over the shock of seeing 10 yr olds (joke!) representing their company at these fascinating events, you’ll come to love it.

  41. 41
    different-church-lady says:

    @SgrAstar: a) Gene Kranz was only 36 when Armstrong stood on the moon.

    b) There are youths who have voices and presence beyond the impact of a wet noodle.

  42. 42
    mike in dc says:

    Space propulsion and rocket tech needs to progress by a few orders of magnitude in order for humans to properly expand into space. The energy requirements will be staggering, even by global standards.

  43. 43
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @SFBayAreaGal: Mark my words, Elon Musk won’t be the first human on Mars, but he will die on Mars.

    Like I said, age of wonders; just…wow.

  44. 44
    Alain the site fixer says:

    @mike in dc: Really, it’s asteroid mining, robot/drone assembly and resource gathering (mining asteroids, solar energy in space, in-orbit construction of vessels, etc.) This is not to ignore the governmental US, Chinese, European, etc. efforts to land on the Moon and explore Mars and beyond. We really are in an age of wonders!

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