Category Archives: Technology

A Blast (off) From My Past

The image below is a screen capture from one the videos in the previous post on today’s SpaceX CRS-10 launch


Life comes full circle. In a much earlier post I described what it was like to be standing at the water’s edge in the foreground at the last ever Saturn V launch.

    The Saturn V F1 engines were the most powerful rocket engines ever made. Each one produced over 1.5 million pounds of thrust. The five F1 engines on the Saturn V made it the most powerful launch vehicle ever at over 7.6 million pounds of thrust. Just over forty years ago on May 14, 1973 [almost 44 years as of this writing], I was lucky enough to be among the press and dignitaries sitting on the bleachers or standing in front of the turning basin at the Launch Complex 39 Press Site for the last ever Saturn V launch. I was 19 years old. My best friend’s aunt was a professional photographer. She got each of us a press pass for the launch of the Skylab space station. For a teenage space fan, who had watched every manned launch since Alan Shepard’s first suborbital Mercury launch, this was truly “dying and going to heaven”. For several days before the launch we got to go on exclusive tours of the launch site. We were able to see Walter Cronkite’s broadcast booth. NASA loaded us up with press packets and thick tomes of specifications. I can not begin to tell you how totally cool this was.


On launch day I was one of the throng of people standing to the left of the countdown clock in the picture above.

    I was just three miles away from the launch pad. When the engines fired up, the sound of the F1 engines was felt as much as heard. The low base rumbling seemed to reach directly into my chest and vibrate my heart and lungs [dare I say it was nearly orgasmic?]. As the Saturn V rose into the sky, I could smell the burned kerosene of the exhaust as I felt the waves of warm air wafting over me. 
    This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The SpaceX image inspired me to search the Internet and YouTube for Skylab launch images. I scored big time. The second image is screen shot from the video below. Back in the day I had a fetish for white jeans (probably expressing my inner John Lennon). Trust me – I am in there somewhere.

Full video from 1973

https://youtu.be/JzCXYd2v3xE

 
The Internet is amazing. Welcome to the future.

 

Links

https://contrafactual.com/2013/07/20/apollo-11-main-engines-found/

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Second time is the charm

SpaceX successfully launches CRS-10 from LC-39A | Falcon 9 first stage lands at LZ-1 

Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Airforce Station

 

Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A, the southern most of the two most northerly pads) with SpaceX modifications 


 


Landing Zone 1 (LZ-1 formerly LC-13 midway down ICBM road )


LC-39A launch

 

Aerial view of LZ-1 landing

 

Full coverage with some SpaceX provided historical clips

 
Links

Aerial snapshots from Apple Maps (TOMTOM)

Welcome to the Future – the revolution will be Tweeted