It was a huge day for the future of our crewed space program. I’m sure you saw the news and probably saw any amount of coverage.
The launch. The landing of the first stage booster on the drone ship. (I know they want to re-use them a dozen times or so to save money, but wouldn’t THAT one look good outside the National Air & Space Museum?) The crew’s short TV event on orbit.
Tomorrow morning we’ll see them dock with the ISS and join the three crew members already on the Station, one American and two Russians. In thirty to ninety days (depending on a lot of things) we’ll see them come back down and splash down in the Atlantic near Florida. By the end of the year we’ll see the first operational flight of Dragon (this is the final test flight) with three American and one Japanese astronauts. And so on.
Tonight there was a marginal, partial pass of the ISS over Los Angeles very late. I’ve never before been lucky enough to see a cargo ship or Space Shuttle following the ISS, let alone a Dragon. It was low to the horizon, looking into the street lights, and it’s hazy out there. I went and looked anyway.
There was the ISS, not a terrible pass after all. Not great, but not terrible. And there, about 10-15 seconds behind it, co-orbital so it’s on the same path, was a much dimmer but still visible Dragon.
That made it a good day for me, personally, one I’ll remember for a long, long time.
Of course, then there’s the news. And the fact that technically I was potentially breaking curfew by going out as Los Angeles has had rioting, looting, and burning all day. As has Atlanta. And Philadelphia. And Pittsburgh. And Kansas City. And Minneapolis. And Chicago. And New York. And Denver, Seattle, Cleveland, Columbus, Portland, Miami, Rochester, and Salt Lake City.
I’m old enough to remember 1968. I think I may have made some comparisons to that year a while back.
This is worse.
So that’s the other thing that I’ll remember about today.
Some problems can’t be solved so easily, even with rocket science.