Author Topic: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread  (Read 6373 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

Disclaimer: Your bedtime may vary depending on location. ;)

Wow, what a day! Absolutely shattered after 20 hours on the go, but my brain - yes, I have one - is still buzzing.

I doubt the day could have gone much better than it did.

Cygnus graduated with its debut arrival at the ISS, via a very well-controlled rendezvous and berthing. Absolutely wonderful to see yet another new vehicle ride up the R-bar and into the grasp of the unsung hero of the ISS, the SSRMS.


We have a lot of Orbital guys on here, including site favorite and all-round legend, Antonio - who I'm sure is celebrating right now. And this is partly why I decided to post this thread, because for a site like this it's not just about the vehicles and the milestones, it's about the people - who's careers, hopes and dreams are being realized via the successes.

Space flight is not easy. We got to see this realization via the usually buoyant SpaceX, acting surprisingly cautious, noting the potential for failure via caveats before (from Elon himself) and to right up to the terminal count (on the webcast). I know for a fact it wasn't showboating. There we real fears inside and outside of SpaceX for this launch - yet they pulled it off! Fortune favors the brave.


It's another level when - like Orbital - you get to know the guys involved. This is their hard work paying off, and I can tell you a lot of these guys go in all hours. I don't think I know anyone in the industry who's a 9-5'er.

And then the day was topped off with the big Russian workhorse deciding it would go into space this time. The failure was nothing to do with ILS, but I'm sure there were some nerves ahead of the Return To Flight mission. ILS don't have the big fan groups the likes of SpaceX have built, but they are faced with similar challenges. The success - pending completion of the Briz-M burns at time of posting - is what it is, another success.


A big thanks to everyone who used this site to enjoy the coverage, with special thanks to the people who helped with coverage - all of whom did so without having to be asked.

Our team is our community. All the webmaster guys, the writers, the mods and the live coverage people are all people who were - and still are - regular members of the forum before increasing their involvement. We're really blessed to have such talented people firstly find the site and then become part of its growth. You could have given me $10m (yes please, if any billionaires are reading this ;)) and I know for a fact I would not have been able to build as good a team as we have right now.

Second highest viewer numbers in the history of the site today, and not one second of downtime (despite my fears we may require to remove guests for an hour or so during the F9 launch). Our new servers seem to be completely awesome, and there again I find myself thanking our L2 membership for allowing us the ability to afford such a hosting package that can cope with what was a mainstream level audience today.

I'm rambling now, but let me mention one more thing. I still have the e-mail from one member who said his "farewell" to me after Atlantis was towed back into her OPF. He wished the site well, saying he hoped we'd survive "the boredom and lack of interest" in what was to be a post-Shuttle era.

It made me a bit angry, because we had already started to cover HLV and Commercial, along with global space flight - and I wrote back saying "it's not a death, it's a transition, one we had already moved into a few years ago."

I didn't hear back from him at the time. However, he logged back into the site this morning. :)

This is a brave new era. We lack of the flagship missions of Shuttle, but we have numerous new vehicles and the seeds of options that may provide us alternatives to the politically shackled norm, reigniting that fascination we all had when we first became interested in space flight.

This is a subject-specific site. People come here because they are interested in space flight. That's what makes us different to a mainstream site covering numerous subjects. That make you a space flight fan.

It is your job to do your part. When you go into work or school tomorrow, mention today. If they say "rockets - booooring" give them a slap! ;) No, not really....just show them the F9 launch video. Show them a photo of Cygnus on the end of the SSRMS. If only one out of every 100 who try that ignites a spark of interest, we'll be planting our own seeds.

It's the least we can do for the aforementioned people working on the vehicles. The people that gave us this successful Super Sunday. The people who fulfil our need to see launch vehicles and spacecraft doing their thing.

We want missions. We want successes. We got that today - and it felt pretty damn good.

Onwards and Upwards!

Online Galactic Penguin SST

Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #1 on: 09/30/2013 02:36 AM »
Good article for today's spaceflight triple act!

I looked up the past history of September 29 in spaceflight history, and it turn out to be very interesting! Yesterday was:

- the 51st anniversary of the launch of Alouette 1, the first Canadian satellite
- the 36th anniversary of the launch of the Salyut 6 space station
- the 25th anniversary of the launch of STS-26 (!)
- the 2nd anniversary of the launch of Tiangong 1, China's first space outpost

What a way to celebrate!  ;D
Chinese spaceflight is a cosmic riddle wrapped in a galactic mystery inside an orbital enigma... - (not) Winston Churchill

Offline catdlr

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #2 on: 09/30/2013 02:42 AM »
BRAVO! Chris.  Totally agree with you.   I hope the  guy that left due to "the boredom and lack of interest" could return and enjoy the excitement that space still provides us.  I enjoy every monument humans, from all countries, achieve in every activity related to space exploration.  It's what keeps me here for hours reading all the wonderful threads and comments from experience professionals.  Yes, it's a super Sunday indeed.
« Last Edit: 09/30/2013 02:43 AM by catdlr »
Tony De La Rosa

Online ChrisWilson68

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #3 on: 09/30/2013 02:47 AM »
Well done, everyone!  Everyone at Orbital, SpaceX, NASA, VAFB, everyone else who worked on these vehicles, everyone who worked on returning Proton to flight, and everyone here who helped us all celebrate it all!

Offline rickl

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #4 on: 09/30/2013 02:52 AM »
Great post, Chris!  Yes, today was amazing and thrilling.  I was providing updates and links at another (non-space) site where I hang out, and I got a few positive comments and people thanking me for the links.

I can't believe I've been up since 5:00 am (it's about 10:45 pm now).  I almost always take a nap in the afternoon on weekends.

I read that Briz-M has successfully completed its first four burns.  Just one to go.

And yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the first successful Falcon 1 orbital flight.  They've come quite a long way in the last five years, haven't they?
Nominal now means "Yeehah!!"

Offline edfishel

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #5 on: 09/30/2013 02:56 AM »
Another round of "thank you"s to the editors, writers, mods, and contributors who makes NSF the fabulous site that it is.  I'm just a retired journalist who enjoys spaceflight and have little to contribute to the discussion, but I want you to know how very grateful I (and others) am who benefit from your expertise. :)

Offline Confusador

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #6 on: 09/30/2013 03:07 AM »
Well said, and three cheers to you, as well as the teams at Orbital, SpaceX, and ILS!  It was fortunate for me that it was Sunday, and so I could watch the webcasts instead of depending on the site so much, but I know that I have in the past not had that luxury and I'm sure that there were many today who couldn't have done without you.  There really is no comparable resource anywhere on the internet!

May you never have to cover such a day again!  (Seriously, if anything else significant happens on the same day as the first Commercial Crew launch, it may kill you.)

Offline sanman

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #7 on: 09/30/2013 03:36 AM »
This was an excellent Sunday to chill in front of the computer and watch the spectacular showcase of events, while reading the interesting and informed commentary from the NSF crowd.

Offline Longhorn John

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #8 on: 09/30/2013 03:37 AM »
Great way to round the day off with an epic post from Chris. I can't imagine what it would be like without this site.

Offline Jeff Bingham

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #9 on: 09/30/2013 05:12 AM »
Outstanding, inspiring, heart-warming, all of this! Thanks for putting it all together and connecting the dots that create a picture of an exciting future!
Offering only my own views and experience as a long-time "Space Cadet."

Offline QuantumG

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #10 on: 09/30/2013 05:14 AM »
It was a great day for video dropouts too :)
When someone is wishing for a pony, there's little to be gained by suggesting a unicorn would be ever better.. ya know, unless it's sarcasm.

Offline Helodriver

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #11 on: 09/30/2013 05:40 AM »
A source in the Communications Squadron at Vandenberg who I know said that  the video dropout of all offboard camera views during the Falcon 9 liftoff was caused by a repeater antenna being knocked out of alignment by blast overpressure during first stage ignition. The antenna served as a node for repeating all USAF tracking video to the SpaceX LCC for broadcast and was located only about 100 yards from the pad on a hillside. That's why Rocketcam was the only footage for most of the live broadcast. They won't be making that mistake again.

Still, a great day and I'm happy I was lucky enough to see the Falcon 9 portion in person.

Offline spectre9

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #12 on: 09/30/2013 10:05 AM »
Awesome coverage on this site of all the events.

It's the sort of day where you can see a bright future for spaceflight. Maybe NASA has done a good thing letting space companies do their own thing.

I'm not going to be forgetting super Sunday for a long time.

Cygnus was elegant gracefully gliding up to the space station while F9 v1.1 was a brute thundering off the pad spitting a brilliant plume.

You were phenomenal Chris. Everywhere I went you were posting updates. I was struggling just to keep up.  :D

Offline WindnWar

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #13 on: 09/30/2013 11:47 AM »
I overslept for the cygnus berthing, but was able to read all about it here, then later in the day had a nice late breakfast while watching Falcon 9 launch, actually I think I had one bite during the launch! Then on to the Proton launch, glad to see it taking off in the proper direction this time! What a day for space enthusiasts. Had a few beers along the way to celebrate and happy to see so many of the naysayers proven wrong. It was a nice day! :)

Offline MP99

Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #14 on: 09/30/2013 11:54 AM »

that's a great way to put a flourish on the end of the day. Well said.

cheers, Martin

Offline IanO

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #15 on: 09/30/2013 12:17 PM »
Sunday was a wonderful cap on the most prolific September for orbital launches in over two decades!  Eleven successful launches and five maiden flights (counting Cygnus)!  Felt like we were back at the start of the space age!

Sept  1   Long March 4C
Sept  7   Minotaur V debut
Sept 11   Rokot/Briz return to flight
Sept 14   Epsilon debut
Sept 18   Atlas V
Sept 18   Antares, Cygnus debut
Sept 23   Long March 4C
Sept 25   Kuaizhou surprise debut!
Sept 25   Soyuz-FG manned flight
Sept 29   Falcon 9 1.1 debut, historic first attempt at active first stage recovery
Sept 29   Proton return to flight - to orbit with stone knives and bearskins

Offline Antares

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #16 on: 09/30/2013 01:35 PM »
A climactic day in a huge month of spaceflight!  And when tons around the industry are feeling new impetus, almost all civil servants and many contractors won't be coming to work on Tuesday.  Bittersweet.
If you use the word "should," you shall provide evidence to back up your opinion.  Shoulds are opinions.

Offline Elvis in Space

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #17 on: 09/30/2013 02:12 PM »
I had to unexpectedly deal with a swarm of family issues that appeared from nowhere yesterday. Obviously that took priority over everything else in the world but I kept track of what was going on via this site and my trusty iPhone. Thank you for passing the word on an otherwise challenging day.
Cheeseburgers on Mars!

Offline KEdward5

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #18 on: 09/30/2013 03:28 PM »
Immense day! Thanks to everyone concerned!

Offline Falcon H

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Re: Super Sunday thoughts before bedtime thread
« Reply #19 on: 09/30/2013 03:42 PM »
It was an amazing day for the spaceflight industry yesterday, as once said after the first nonstop flight across the U.S. "we have just witnessed a page of history being turned." :)  One step closer towards crewed dragon flights, and to the commercialization of space. :D
« Last Edit: 09/30/2013 03:44 PM by Falcon H »
"Sooner or later, we must expand life beyond our little blue mud ball--or go extinct" Elon Musk