Falcon Heavy launch now set for tomorrow evening, April 10


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Capitalism in space: SpaceX’s second launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket, the world’s most powerful, has now been rescheduled for 6:36 pm (eastern) on April 10.

This will definitely be worth watching. (I will post the SpaceX live stream link when it goes up.) If all goes well, the three first stage boosters will all land themselves after first stage separation, with two coming in simultaneously on neighboring landing pads in Florida, with the third landing very shortly thereafter on its landing barge in the Atlantic.

A success here will also give the Falcon Heavy two successful launches, two more than SLS (with none), and one more than China’s Long March 5, which is half as powerful but has not launched in almost two years after it failed on its second launch attempt.

The comparison with SLS is more pertinent. Tomorrow’s launch, if successful, will once again demonstrate the complete failure of NASA’s SLS rocket. This government boondoggle has been in development since 2004 in various iterations, for a cost that is likely to exceed $25 billion, fifty times more than it cost SpaceX to develop and make operational the Falcon Heavy. SLS’s first launch, originally scheduled for 2017, is now set to launch in June 2020, but is also more likely to be delayed months, if not more. Beyond that it will likely be more years before its second launch.

Falcon Heavy meanwhile is scheduled to do its third launch in mere months, should tomorrow go off without a hitch. It also has contracts for at least seven future launches. Nor would I be surprised if it completes most of these launches before SLS flies for the first time.

At some point the dimwits in Washington will I hope finally notice the contrast, and stop wasting money on SLS. Give it time, however. They are not very smart, and aren’t really interested in the needs of the American nation.

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5 comments

  • Uncle Kenny

    The article says Wednesday, April 10th is the launch date at 6:36 p.m. EDT.
    Is your calendar broken?

  • Richard M

    “The comparison with SLS is more pertinent. Tomorrow’s launch, if successful, will once again demonstrate the complete failure of NASA’s SLS rocket. This government boondoggle has been in development since 2004 in various iterations, for a cost that is likely to exceed $25 billion, fifty times more than it cost SpaceX to develop and make operational the Falcon Heavy.”

    Imagine my surprise some weeks ago when I discovered that there is actually a reddit for SLS.

    Yes, there are reddits for nearly everything, it seems. Yet the interwebs still await the creation of reddits for the Manned Orbiting Laboratory, Venture Star, the X-38,the Ares V, and other expensively futile space vehicle development programs. It’s a very small crowd of followers – about 1,800, versus the nearly half million on the main SpaceX reddits, or even the 10K on the main Blue Origin reddit (a better place to be if you’re a fan of organizations which still haven’t reached orbit yet), but they are a dedicated bunch. I feel a bit sorry for them; they want America back in deep space, and they deserve a better program of record than the one they’ve quixotically decided to defend.

    But I mention all this because one of the attacks they’ve offered against Falcon Heavy is that it hardly ever flies. “SLS will only fly once per year? Well, what about Falcon Heavy?”

    And yet we now know that SpaceX plans not only to fly a SECOND Falcon Heavy mission this spring (USAF’s STP-2, NET June), but that they’ll be even turning around the same side boosters (B1052 and B1053) being used for tomorrow’s planned launch of Arabsat-6 to use on that one, too – for a flight just several weeks later!

    Hard to imagine a clearer demonstration of the expensive obsolescence of SLS, a rocket which won’t even see a launch pad until after Falcon Heavy has launched at least a half dozen times – mostly using the same set of cores. But every single scrap of an SLS rocket gets thrown away.

  • Uncle Kenny: No but my brain sometimes is. I was looking at the wrong week on my calendar. :) Thank you. Post fixed.

    I have been freelance almost my entire life. Work is very rarely linked directly to the day of the week, or even the calendar. If you asked me the date, I would almost always have to think about it.

  • Jason Hillyer

    Go Falcon Heavy!!

  • Orion314

    Fingers crossed for fair weather and a great mission.

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