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SpaceX's Falcon 9 Appears As UFO In Australia

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the only-looks-suspicious dept.

Australia 143

RobHart writes "ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Commission) has reported extensively on a bright spiraling light that was seen in Eastern Australia just before dawn. It has just broadcast a report from an Australian astronomer who has suggested that the light was probably the successful Falcon 9 launch, which would have been over Australia at that time on its launch trajectory." Update: 06/05 22:20 GMT by T : Setting aside the literal exhaust fumes, reader FleaPlus says, It's "interesting to look at the reactions from those in Congress who control the purse-strings for NASA (one of SpaceX's biggest customers). The successful launch was congratulated by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL and former astronaut) and Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL), both praised and criticized by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) due to the successful launch being a year later than previously predicted, and blasted by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) for merely replicating what 'NASA accomplished in 1964,' who added that the company's success 'must not be confused with progress for our nation's human spaceflight program.'"

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143 comments

Oh, those Falcon UFOs! (5, Informative)

The Bad Astronomer (563217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470696)

FWIW, I have a substantial blog post with details [discovermagazine.com] , including a rant against the ABC story. :) This was definitely the Falcon 9 second stage, despite the UFO guy's protestations: the timing, position, and appearance all match.

Re:Oh, those Falcon UFOs! (4, Funny)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470712)

FWIW, I have a substantial blog post with details, including a rant against the ABC story. :) This was definitely the Falcon 9 second stage, despite the UFO guy's protestations: the timing, position, and appearance all match.

Oh sure, says the Bad Astronomer!

Re:Oh, those Falcon UFOs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32470780)

Oh sure, says the Bad Astronomer!

Better him than BadAstrologyGuy.

Re:Oh, those Falcon UFOs! (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470908)

Maybe he means bad in this sense [youtube.com] .

Re:Oh, those Falcon UFOs! (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471254)

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
-- Arthur C Clarke's Third Law

Maybe them there rockets are too newfangled for those people down under...

Re:Oh, those Falcon UFOs! (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470742)

So despite the nonsense you'll hear from the news sites and the bulletin boards that will claim this is some sort of transdimensional stargate warp ...

Look, if it's all the same to you, I'll take the transdimensional stargate warp over a measly chemical rocket any day.

But thanks for playing.

Re:Oh, those Falcon UFOs! (2, Funny)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470924)

Oh yea, likely story. Just because there was something that looks like the UFO in the same place at the same time doesn't mean that it was the same thing.

Far more likely is that the Falcon 9 second stage hit an alien spacecraft, causing it (the alien spacecraft) to spin and spew gas!

Don't believe him. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32471194)

He gets paid to lie to us.
In fact, the bright light (pink), was a spaceship full of gay niggers from planet anus.

Re:Oh, those Falcon UFOs! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32471472)

If it was the Falcon 9 then it would be identified, not unidentified. As no space agency, including NASA, have identified it then nothing on your blog will change the fact that it is a UFO and will remain that way until it is identified. That doesn't mean whatever it was contains little green men or is any more interesting than a wet fart in a heavy wind.

Supernova (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32472526)

I'm still laughing at the people in the background of the news footage (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/technology/1064435/ufos-seen-zooming-over-eastern-australia).

"I don't think it's a supernova now that I look at it..."

Yep. Definitely makes you proud to be an Australian.

What are the odds of an entire weekend passing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32473050)

...Without timothy posting non-stories from his beloved Australia?

Anyone?

Fools! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32470718)

Everyone who watched knows the Falcon 9 was launched in the upwards direction, not the downwards direction needed to reach Australia.

Also, Australian UFOs spiral in the opposite direction to The Vistors who arrive in the northern hemisphere.

Re:Fools! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32474678)

I LOL'd. XD

DST (2, Informative)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470746)

A doubter quoted in the article says "Firstly, the time of the launch was 18.45 GMT, which translates to 4.45am EST, the duration of the flight was 9 minutes 38 seconds - this is a full hour before the reported sightings."
 
Did he forget that we're on DST right now? He should have looked up the EDT time, not EST.

Re:DST (4, Informative)

vsage3 (718267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470786)

Presumably "EST" refers to Australian east coast time and not American EDT given it was 2:45pm EDT when the launch occurred.

Re:DST (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470812)

Oh... I assumed he was talking about the time when it took off in Florida (I didn't follow it THAT closely, so I wasn't sure if it took off really early or later in the day), although I guess I could have figured it out based on the conversion to GMT.

Re:DST (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470824)

Even so, has anyone checked his work? It's always easy to get off by an hour when there's DST involved.

Re:DST (1)

vsage3 (718267) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470846)

There's no work to check. His GMT time is correct, and I'm guessing he knows his own country's time zone offsets from GMT.

Re:DST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32470874)

except that he forgot rockets take time, like an hour, to fly halfway around the planet.

Re:DST (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470880)

Well, I did it anyway :)

He seems to be right according to http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/time-zone/time-zones.htm [greenwichmeantime.com] (I assume that they're on standard time, being on the southern hemisphere and all).

Was the whole flight just under 10 minutes? or did that only account for how long it was being propelled (did it fall for a while?) Or was it actually just something entirely different?

Re:DST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32470922)

it was the 2nd stage deorbiting over australia. took roughly an hour to reach.
  flight time was 10 minutes to burnout.

Re:DST (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471040)

Was the whole flight just under 10 minutes

No, that was boost time.

or did that only account for how long it was being propelled (did it fall for a while?)

It will be falling for the next year or so, until the orbit finally decays.

Re:DST (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471690)

In Melbourne:

date && date -u
Sun Jun 6 09:12:56 EST 2010
Sat Jun 5 23:12:56 UTC 2010

The east coast of AU is at GMT+10 right now.

Re:DST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32470796)

(and I know that he'd be ok as long as he's consistent, but my guess is that he accidentally used EST for one and EDT for the other).

Re:DST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32470928)

He's right; it just takes about an hour for a rocket launched in Florida to make it over Australia.

Re:DST (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471672)

Did he forget that we're on DST right now? He should have looked up the EDT time, not EST.

We're not on Daylight Savings Time now.

Re:DST (1)

LBArrettAnderson (655246) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472052)

I am. If you read the thread you'll realize that I (mistakenly) thought he was talking about the American EDT (in the article they should have used AEST to be more specific).

So ..... (0, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470918)

all the bright spiraling lights that were seen over norway, canada, and 4 corners of the world were falcon 9 launches ? what, are these guys using a ship for launches and, for some godforsaken reason, needing to launch from arctic circle, just north of norway, then to go to the other corner of the world, australia, and to launch from there ? give me an effin break.

Re:So ..... (2, Informative)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471030)

In Norway I believe Russia recognized it was a failed missile test.

Re:So ..... (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32473628)

and the one in canada ? what was that ? why they all looked the same ? all russians ?

Re:So ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32471086)

nope. those were russian missiles/aurora borealis/HAARP shots/alien spacecraft using the pan arctic trans-dimensional jumpgate. take your pick.

Re:So ..... (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32473618)

so, the same spiral light is created by a russian failed missile test, falcon 9, and what was the one that created the one in canada ?

RE:Doug Moffett (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470944)

You keep using these words. I don't think they mean what you think they mean.

from UFO Research NSW Oh. That explains it...

Congress is happy (2, Informative)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32470980)

Re:Congress is happy (4, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471406)

I think it's oddly ironic and evidence of how off base Republicans are with science that they can decry this as being unimpressive. Normally they'd be touting this as evidence that NASA needs to be canceled so that the private sector can do it without federal funds.

Because ultimately this is a big deal, private businesses haven't been able to do this sort of thing nor really was the US government able to without a massive amount of money.

Re:Congress is happy (2, Interesting)

inf4mia (1583323) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472056)

Timothy is such a luddite for turning this into a Red vs. Blue thing. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) also down played SpaceX's accomplishment. All of the politicians downplaying the achievement are just lamely trying to protect their area's piece of NASA's salted pork.

Rep. Kosmas: "The successful test launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket is a significant step in the development of the commercial space industry. There is no doubt that commercial spaceflight will play an important role in the future of our efforts in space, and I believe private companies can bring new job opportunities for the Space Coast's highly skilled workforce. But we must both support the emerging commercial space industry and ensure a robust, NASA-led human spaceflight program in order to maintain our international leadership in space and keep our economy strong. I will continue fighting at every opportunity to minimize the human spaceflight gap, protect jobs, and ensure a bright future for the Space Coast."
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/06/04/4465072-spacex-fans-and-foes-speak-out [msn.com]

Re:Congress is happy (2, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472202)

Ah,, don't inject truth, reason, and sanity into this. Can't we just bash one party or the other for the hell of it and leave false impressions to the masses? I mean how are we supposed to get our guy elected if we can't get everyone else to believe the fallacious positions we put the opposition in.

I bet you don't like puppies. Nobody listen to this guy, he doesn't like puppies, or kittens either.

Re:Congress is happy (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472206)

I am not surprised that the Republican from Alabama is against SpaceX, seeing how Huntsville is the home of Morton-Thiokol, a major contractor for the solid rocket boosters that were to be used on the canceled program.

Aside from the fact that Senators never notice federal government waste when the money is being spent in their own state, the is very much a red-blue issue since Republicans are currently looking for anything to call a fail on the current administration

Re:Congress is happy (0, Troll)

avtchillsboro (986655) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472882)

Umm... how about some equal time for Democrats??
Now that 'The One' has shut down the Shuttle & de-funded the Ares Program because he is against spending precious tax dollars on wasteful activities (heh)
any bets on how soon the liberal do-gooders will want to impose confiscatory new taxes on the nascent private space industry's "windfall" profits?

Re:Congress is happy (1)

somenickname (1270442) | more than 4 years ago | (#32473230)

Once the Stargate was found and the Asgard gave us all their tech, these sorts of events are no longer impressive.

Re:Congress is happy (4, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471436)

Gotta love the quotes from the wonderfully progressive Republican party folks including this gem from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL): "[Shelby congratulated SpaceX on what] 'NASA accomplished in 1964,' [and] added that the company's success 'must not be confused with progress for our nation's human spaceflight."

That's really rich seeing that NASA can't even do what SpaceX has done. Welcome back to 1964, maybe, we SpaceX is now years ahead of the now hopefully defunct Aries I program, despite NASA's extensive experience, which SpaceX is benefiting from. Even more ironic that a Republican senator is unhappy that private enterprise is doing something that a government agency is apparently unable to do. Oh how the Republican party has fallen. They're now caught by their own positions. I mean are they for private enterprise and the free market or not?

Re:Congress is happy (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471730)

I mean are they for private enterprise and the free market or not?

They're politicians. They don't even get a passing grade in remedial politics if they can't dodge such obvious attempts at consistency and accountability.

Re:Congress is happy (2, Interesting)

darjen (879890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471736)

The Republican party never has been for free markets and never will be. Every single time they win, government still expands by leaps and bounds. It is mostly false rhetoric by leftists trying to prove that free markets don't work. Case in point is the quote from this fine senatorial idiot.

Re:Congress is happy (5, Informative)

confused one (671304) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471850)

I believe Keith Cowing from http://nasawatch.com/ [nasawatch.com] put it best when he commented on Senator Hutchison and then Senator Shelby's statements:

Keith's note: This is hilarious. Ares 1-X was a suborbital mission with a fake second stage, a first stage motor different than the final one, and used borrowed avionics. Falcon 9 flew an operational vehicle first time out of the hanagr and put a payload into orbit at a small fraction of the cost that an Ares would require. Falcon 9 has a better chance of closing the gap than Ares 1 will. Apparently the good senator (her staff that is) are utterly unaware of the fact that Ares 1 will not achieve any of its milestones until after Falcon 9 has already done so. Yet we never hear anything from her about that, do we?

As for Sen Shelby's comments, It would seem that SpaceX is better equipped to do what "NASA accomplished in 1964" than the NASA of 2010 can accomplish - and do so faster - and more cheaply. Ares 1 would cost much more and be ready later than Falcon 9.

Re:Congress is happy (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472268)

Of course "SpaceX is now years ahead" of the Constellation program. SpaceX started years before the Aries program, used 30 year old technology, and has a much simpler goal: LEO and GEO. They fucking better be years ahead, specially as the Aries program has lost its funding.

I guess you forgot that the Constellation system was supposed to take us back to Luna and then on to Mars and not just the ISS which is the primary target of the Falcon 9 system.

Comparing the Constellation system to the Falcon system is like comparing an over the road semi-articulated tractor trailer to a day-cab straight truck.

Re:Congress is happy (5, Informative)

Captain Nitpick (16515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472572)

SpaceX started years before the Aries program, used 30 year old technology

I guess you forgot that the Constellation system was supposed to take us back to Luna and then on to Mars and not just the ISS which is the primary target of the Falcon 9 system.

You are misinformed. The Ares I rocket is just a LEO launcher. It is an extended space shuttle solid rocket booster with an upper stage powered by a single Saturn V motor. The technology in it dates to the mid-1970s or even earlier.

The Ares V is a heavy-lift booster that outclasses anything built. Or it would if they'd actually try building one. It is a STS External Tank with five motors off the Delta IV under it and two STS SRBs attached to it. The upper stage is powered by the same Saturn V derivative motor used on the Ares I.

Both programs started development circa 2005 (SpaceX was only founded in 2002). SpaceX has delivered a working launch vehicle. NASA has launched what was literally a slightly modified SRB out of the Space Shuttle inventory as the Ares I-X, and is unlikely to launch the real thing until 2017. The Ares V hasn't even begun to leave the drawing board.

SpaceX has a working satellite launcher that can be made man-rated. The Constellation program has nothing.

Re:Congress is happy (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32474550)

Or it would if they'd actually try building one.

They would have except for Obama de-funding the program. I guess you forgot about that.

Let's see:

SpaceX has delivered a 1960s era liquid fuel rocket designed for LEO. NASA has delivered a 1970s era test vehicle as part of a program to develop a 2010s era launch system.

SpaceX has an almost working satellite launch vehicle. NASA was developing a system for sending people to Luna and Mars.

Yeah, SpaceX has gotten very far using NASA's old technology.

Re:Congress is happy (1)

Gravatron (716477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32474682)

Nasa's system was far over budget, far behind schedule, and no making up any sort of ground. 9 billion and all they had was a SRB. They were years away from orbit, and decades from the moon.

Meanwhile, for a fraction of the cost, Space X put a test vehicle in orbit. They will be able to put a man in orbit in a few years time. Ares can't say the same.

Ares is and always will be a vehicle designed primarily to save jobs, not to preform space exploration.

Re:Congress is happy (3, Funny)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472802)

Comparing the Constellation system to the Falcon system is like comparing an over the road semi-articulated tractor trailer to a day-cab straight truck.

Hooray, a truck analogy. Lemme fix that for you. It's like comparing a fusion-powered antigravity freighter to a day-cab straight truck. The antigravity freighter is much more impressive, but the straight truck actually exists.

Re:Congress is happy (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32474570)

And, the only reason it does not exist is because of Obama.

Re:Congress is happy (4, Interesting)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472790)

Normally I'm all for Republican-bashing, but in this case I think it goes to something more primal than Republican luddism.

Whether a congressman approves or disapproves of Space-X has nothing to do with his/her party, beliefs, or political position, and everything to do with, "Do I have a NASA manned spaceflight center in my district?"

Space-X has gotten jeers from Florida, Alabama, and Texas; cheers from just about everywhere else. At least Florida and Texas have a role to play in a privatized spaceflight arena. Alabama, on the other hand, is watching the Marshall Space Flight Center evaporate like a puddle of liquid oxygen, and is going to fight like hell to keep ol' Werner von Braun's playground alive.

Re:Congress is happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32473844)

Except space-x is in texas too, so I don't really get the jeers from here. Presumably they offer fewer jobs because they are more efficient.

SpaceX is where NASA was in 1964? (1)

voss (52565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472866)

As opposed to NASA who's Ares I-X rocket is where NASA was in 1957.

spacex for better or worse, has made slow but steady progress towards a manned orbital launch platform and will be ready
years ahead of Ares.

Skylab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32471024)

Oz has every right to be worried when pieces of spacecraft come flying over them.

Re:Skylab (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471714)

Oz has every right to be worried when pieces of spacecraft come flying over them.

Eventually we will put all the pieces together and have our own space program.

Second Stage Burn over australia (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32471392)

SpaceX has been kinda quiet about it... But the second stage did try to do another burn over Australia to make escape velocity. The burn didn't go as planned, probably due to the fact of the uncontrolled spiraling of the first burn. They were targeting escape velocity, but it only burned for about 8 seconds. After scrambling to keep a couple of ground stations up to track it, they found it tumbling still in about the same orbit as the first burn. As usual Elon put a good spin on it saying they just wanted to do a quick burn to slightly change the orbit. When you don't release what your targeting to the public before hand its easy to call that a success, but in actuality, that's not what they had planned. Still a great day for SpaceX for a first launch of this rocket.

Re:Second Stage Burn over australia (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471820)

Do you have any sort of sources at all for this? I didn't know that the Falcon 9 was ever supposed to be able to achieve escape velocity. What exactly where they supposedly shooting for? A moon shot?

Anyways, their brand new rocket didn't blow up and acheived orbit the first time they tried it, I think it'd be easy to spin this as a sucess regardless.

Re:Second Stage Burn over australia (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471902)

Do you have any sort of sources at all for this? I didn't know that the Falcon 9 was ever supposed to be able to achieve escape velocity. What exactly where they supposedly shooting for? A moon shot?

There is always a final burn after 1/2 orbit to circularize the orbit. Which is probably what the OP was babbling about. There was no intention to put the Falcon 9 into an escape orbit.

On the other hand, Falcon 9 is capable of putting a payload into GEO. It requires more deltaV to achieve a circular orbit at GEO than it does to reach escape speed (if the fuel needed to circularize the orbit at GEO were spent during the initial boost, Falcon 9 would be about 150 m/s shy of a Mars transfer orbit.

Re:Second Stage Burn over australia (2, Informative)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472852)

According to the Falcon 9 user's guide [spacex.com] , it's capable of sending a payload of about 2.5 tons to escape velocity (C3=0).

Though I agree, the OP meant "orbit circularization".

Anyway, three cheers for SpaceX, but if I were NASA I'd make damn sure they know what the deal was with that roll before they let a Dragon anywhere near the ISS.

Re:Second Stage Burn over australia (2, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#32473026)

Anyway, three cheers for SpaceX, but if I were NASA I'd make damn sure they know what the deal was with that roll before they let a Dragon anywhere near the ISS.

Thing the first: the next test flight will put the prototype Dragon into orbit for tests. It won't go to the ISS.

Thing the second: the real Dragon (as opposed to the dummy atop yesterday's test launch) has quite a comprehensive set of maneuvering & attitude control thrusters. It should be quite capable of stabilizing itself, even if it ends up rolling.

Thing the third: that roll is going to be a problem for any launch that doesn't involve a spacecraft with its own attitude control system. Which almost certainly means that that's what SpaceX is going to be working on come Monday...assuming they're not all still hung-over anyways.

Re:Second Stage Burn over australia (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32472136)

Escape velocity is easy to achieve. Hell, a delta 2 sent both rovers to mars. The falcon9 has a lot more lift than it. They weren't aiming for anything, with a hyperbolic orbit right over a ground station they can track it for a long time as it travels away from the earth and gain valuable data.

Yes, it was more successful than even they had hoped. Even if the second stage didn't light at all, they would have still called it a success. And I would agree with that. They got more accomplished than Ares I did, and that launch cost over a billion dollars.

not an Earth escape mission (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472776)

No, Falcon 9 was never intended, nor did it have the delta V needed, to achieve escape velocity. Orbital velocity (LEO) ~ 5 miles/sec. Escape velocity (Earth) ~ 7 miles/sec. Nowhere enough propellant on board to achieve the latter. If there was an engine restart after the ascent burn, it may have been an attempt to raise the perigee, a routine astrogation move to circularize the orbit.

maybe Australia has a space program (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471446)

and nobody outside Australia knows about it, and we all think it is just some UFO flyover when they launch a rocket in to space.

Re:maybe Australia has a space program (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471732)

and nobody outside Australia knows about it, and we all think it is just some UFO flyover when they launch a rocket in to space.

Come on. Nobody here can keep a secret. Have you met an Australian outside AU who knows how to shut up?

Re:maybe Australia has a space program (1)

not-my-real-name (193518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472708)

Come on. Nobody here can keep a secret. Have you met an Australian outside AU who knows how to shut up?

But, that's what they want you to think.

(goes to adjust tinfoil hat)

Some perspective: (3, Interesting)

OpenGLFan (56206) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471622)

Some perspective: I used to live in Huntsville, AL, and I currently live in Austin, TX.

Shelby's just trying to protect the funding of of the Marshall SFC NASA group in Huntsville, AL. In their defense, the HSV group kicks a lot of ass, and is a welcome outpost of science and engineering in Alabama.

KBHutchinson is just an ignorant asshole.

Re:Some perspective: (2, Insightful)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471684)

Regardless, he sounds like an ignorant ass. I really do hate both political parties. They are both filled with buffoons, just left buffoons and right buffoons.

Re:Some perspective: (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472888)

Same deal with KBHutchinson, she's trying to protect Johnson Space Center. She could also be an ignorant ass too, I dunno.

I gotta feel bad for Alabama, though. I could be just an ignorant Yankee, but from here, it looks like if you take away Huntsville, Alabama's up an economic creek without a high-tech paddle.

I'm a little confused here.... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471682)

...over the key word "Probably"....

Amazing how we can get to space but don't know how...

Sen. Richard Shelby's Comment (2)

TXP (592446) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471756)

SpaceX is trying to make rocket launchs come off an "assembly-line". This alone would be an impressive feat. Comparing this to a 1964 launch would be like comparing the 8086 cpu to modern quad core. My amature opinion on the launch: I don't think spacex has been totally successful as mentioned by quite a few other posts. They keep spiraling out of control, they need better rocket/jet rudders or something to improve their out of atmosphere control.

Re:Sen. Richard Shelby's Comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32471930)

my amateur opinion on your post: i don't think you've been totally successful. you need better dictionaries or something to improve your spelling control.

Re:Sen. Richard Shelby's Comment (3, Interesting)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472174)

Comparing this to a 1964 launch would be like comparing the 8086 cpu to modern quad core.

Bwahahahaha!!!! That is rich, fucking hilarious even. No, it is not like that at all, or at least not like you mean.

A private company succeeded in launching its first sub/low orbital rocket and it was only a year late. There are no truly innovative technologies used in the Falcon 9. It is comparable to a Titan III rocket, first launched in 1965.

The most innovative part of the Falcon 9 is that both stages are "designed" to be reusable, but that capability is not certain but rather hoped for and has yet to be demonstrated.

Literally, this is the equivalent of a private company demonstrating its new single core, 32 bit, RISC processor. It is old technology that has been mastered repeatedly by others and is nothing special.

Re:Sen. Richard Shelby's Comment (2, Informative)

asaz989 (901134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32473926)

Actually, it is special. It's cheap. Which was the whole point, from the beginning.
SpaceX isn't aiming to do anything new, they're aiming to do the same thing for less than half the price (per kilogram, Falcon 9 Heavy compared to the Ariane 5).

Re:Sen. Richard Shelby's Comment (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32474558)

It is still a two trick pony: Satellites to LEO, and satellites to GEO. It does not take the place of the shuttle and most especially does not take the place of the Constellation program.

I wish I saw it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32471782)

I'm in Adelaide and was walking to work between 4am and 5am local time, I wish I saw it!

Re:I wish I saw it! (2, Informative)

caffeine_high (974351) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471904)

You did not miss much from what I saw. I'm in Newcastle and was out for an early ride and say it at 5.50 EST. To me it looked more like a unusual cloud formation near the moon. It was interesting enough for me to mention it to my friends when I met them at 6 but they did not even notice it. I did not think about it again until I saw it on the evening news with a few ufo nuts.

A curse on Sen. Richard Shelby! (1)

Titan1080 (1328519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32471786)

May his gulf shores be tainted with oil for years to come!

Politicians (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472050)

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) for merely replicating what 'NASA accomplished in 1964,' who added that the company's success 'must not be confused with progress for our nation's human spaceflight program.'"

      The bit he left out was the fact that America as a "nation" has lost the space race altogether. Unless of course you count buying seats on Soyuz spacecraft as part of the "American manned space program"... Yes America put a man on the moon - but what have they done SINCE then, Shelby - while YOU were in office? In fact, while Elon Musk was busy building a billion dollar company (PayPal) that many people use every day, all you did was suck up taxpayer dollars feeding off of society and pretending to be important. Then Mr. Musk goes on to found another visionary company while you just whine and bitch and believe that you actually contribute to society. Truth is that Shelby can be replaced instantly by someone just as mediocre.

      SpaceX has demonstrated it can now lift useful, heavy payloads into orbit. This is the beginning of a business model - one that never worked for NASA. Instead of whining about how America did this a long time ago he should realize that this is not costing the taxpayer anything at all AND is the beginning of regular self funding, sustainable space flight. A boon to ALL of humanity.

Re:Politicians (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472186)

Exactly who did we lose the space race to?

Re:Politicians (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32472296)

Russia, China, and soon India all have more advanced space programs than the USA right now. China will have a *permanent* manned lunar base by 2025. They *will* do this, not just talk about it. Japan will have a robot base by around then. You will have... nothing. Very shortly, your only way to get a human into space will be to beg rides from the Russians or Chinese. Your weather satellite network is falling apart and your GPS network is being superseded by a more accurate European one.

I think that qualifies as "losing".

Re:Politicians (1)

DrDitto (962751) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472460)

LMAO. Talk to me when all of this "will have" stuff is complete. Don't doubt what the world's largest economy can accomplish if it decides to prioritize something (yeah, I know...China "will" overtake the U.S. by some year I'm sure you can throw out).

Re:Politicians (3, Informative)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472978)

Agree. If there's one thing space exploration has taught us, it's that plans count for nothing. The US had grand plans for the Shuttle. The Soviets had grand plans for the Moon. You don't have a space program until main engine cutoff.

I don't want to be a chest-beating American here, the grandparent post may turn out to be true 20 years from now. But right now, at this moment, the U.S. has:

1 guy in orbit
300 tonnes of space station hardware in orbit
13-20 Earth-observing satellites
2-3 sun-observing missions
1 mission to Mercury
1 mission to the asteroid belt
4-5 missions to Mars
1 mission at Saturn
1 mission heading to Pluto

plus some miscellaneous ones I've forgotten about. Some numbers are approximate because it depends on how you count.

Anyway, *that* is a space program. The future may bring what the future may bring, but right now, find me another country that is doing a tenth as much space stuff.

Re:Politicians (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472992)

Correction: the guy in orbit is actually a chick.

Re:Politicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32472752)

It is really a race if others arrive at the finish 50 years later and find it abandoned because the previous winner realized there was nothing there of any value?

Re:Politicians (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#32473790)

I guess you never heard that kid's story about the tortoise and the hare, right? Yeah yeah, no value, etc.

      No value in starting a colony in the New World either, right? I mean the first colony in what was to become America was in Jamestown Virginia in 1607. The New World was discovered in 1492, 115 years earlier. Certainly there was "no rush" to set up colonies, because I guess the expense (a couple thousand pounds - a small personal fortune in those days) in no way justified such a venture... Moral: you don't know what you could be are losing out on until it's over.

Re:Politicians (1)

the gnat (153162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472864)

China will have a *permanent* manned lunar base by 2025. They *will* do this, not just talk about it.

So far, they've done a lot more talking than doing. It seems more imminent than it probably is only because credible news sources took the claims of some Chinese scientists too seriously, and because "OMFG China is becoming a superpower" stories have been in vogue for the past decade and becoming even more common. The first stories I could find on this were from 2002, and suggested that China might have a manned moon landing by 2010. Right now they're claiming that they might have a manned moon landing by 2020 [chinadaily.com.cn] , or maybe 2030 [chinadaily.com.cn] , or they might set up a lunar base by 2030 [chinadaily.com.cn] , but none of this appears to be actually funded yet.

I'm sure they could do this if they really wanted to, just like the US could have landed someone on Mars decades ago, but it's probably going to take just as long for them to actually get around to it. The problem, as always, is not that the technology isn't available, it's that the available technology is so cripplingly expensive and the tangible rewards so limited. One of the claims is that they'll mine the lunar surface for He-3 for fusion power. . . which still hasn't even been proven, and with ITER climbing above $20 billion, behind schedule and already reduced in size, I'm not optimistic about that changing any time soon.

Right now it's to China's advantage - or at least its leaders think it is - to make these bold claims so they can impress everyone and throw their weight around just like the USA has been doing for the last 65 years. There's no reason why China can't continue to become wealthier and a true superpower, but their government is so tin-eared that I doubt it's going to be as rapid and smooth a rise as our local prophets of doom seem to think. Once they start getting sucked into resource wars and citizens of Third-World countries start burning Chinese flags outside their embassies and the tens-of-millions of surplus young Chinese men realize that they're never getting laid ever, their progress may slow down a little bit.

Re:Politicians (2, Informative)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472930)

Russia, China, and soon India all have more advanced space programs than the USA right now.

Not right now. The U.S. put more people into orbit on one flight last month than China has in their entire history. Maybe someday China and India will pass us, but not yet.

Re:Politicians (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32473162)

Russia, China, and soon India all have more advanced space programs than the USA right now.

Umm, actually all of the above are more PRIMITIVE than the US' relevant programs. The fact that the space shuttle has been taken out of service doesn't change that fact. The US continues to launch plenty of unmanned missions.

China will have a *permanent* manned lunar base by 2025. They *will* do this, not just talk about it.

That's HILARIOUS.

China doesn't nothing but talk, extensively, about every topic under the sun. If you believe damn near any of it, you're a fool. China states, routinely, how their country is going to surpass all others in every possible pursuit on a regular basis. It never happens. Spouting crap is what they do.

Very shortly, your only way to get a human into space will be to beg rides from the Russians or Chinese.

Your weather satellite network is falling apart

We're all falling apart. Time works that way. As long as the weather satellite network continues to work, complaints about it are academic.

and your GPS network is being superseded by a more accurate European one.

We've been hearing that for, what, 15 years? The fact that the EU feels the need for one-upsmanship by duplicating the functionality of GPS at a ridiculous cost, for no benefit, is fine by me. Good luck with that.

Re:Politicians (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32474122)

China doesn't nothing but talk, extensively, about every topic under the sun. If you believe damn near any of it, you're a fool.

China talked about the Olympics. Many didn't think they'd get done what needed to get done. They did, and they did better than those who discount them thought they would. Sure, their weather control fell a little short, but they spent billions to get everything done and ready to go. They have the high speed rail to Lhasa, the first an a number of things. They have Three Gorges (mostly done, I think everything from the original plan is done and they added some things that haven't been done yet) and it's the largest power plant of any kind anywhere in the world. They may talk about everything, but they aren't only talk. To dismiss them is to not understand them, and Sun Tsu (you might have heard of him, he was Chinese) would have words with you.

China states, routinely, how their country is going to surpass all others in every possible pursuit on a regular basis. It never happens.

They claimed they'd make the highest high speed rail, and they did. They claimed they'd build the largest power plant the planet has ever seen, and they did. They said they'd surpass all others in specific areas and did. That you say "it never happens" indicates you are an idiot or a liar. Not that I'm arguing with you, as you are obviously not worth it, I just want to make sure no one else listens to your crap.

The other part that Obama's critics dont get (2, Informative)

voss (52565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472942)

Obama is trying to develop a viable space program that works and we can actually afford. The first part of that is a lowering
the cost to get stuff to orbit. Spacex will be part of that plan

Re:Politicians (1, Interesting)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32473052)

Here's another way of looking at it. Kind of a Republican way, though Sen. Shelby would hate to admit it.

The achievements of NASA are not the only things the U.S. has accomplished. For all its weaknesses, the U.S. is the only country on Earth where some random dude from South Africa can come, get an education, become a citizen, start a company to revolutionize the way the world buys stuff, sell it for bajillions, and then start launching rockets into orbit, partly because it's awesome, partly as a stepping-stone toward getting humanity off this damned rock.

The achievements of Elon Musk and SpaceX do not just demonstrate America's flaws. They point out what's *great* about America.

Re:Politicians (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#32473216)

Yes America put a man on the moon - but what have they done SINCE then,

Hmmm... Numerous Mars Rovers and other probes, Hubble space telescope, Spitzer space telescope, New Horizons on it's way to intergalactic space, put up and assembled a massive space station, etc.

Yeah, nothing...

Re:Politicians (1)

UK Boz (755972) | more than 4 years ago | (#32473662)

.. and ditto for any politician. Only Kennedy had real Balls, the rest cant see past another ride on the gravy train.

Ob. Red Dwarf (3, Funny)

ozbird (127571) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472118)

Cat: I hate to go all technical on you, but: All hands on deck, Swirly Thing Alert!

Space? (1)

scottwilkins (1224922) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472272)

Silly Republicans, space is for kids.

"spiraling light" (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472734)

would be consistent with the increasing roll rate apparent in the onboard video as the second stage approached burnout. Haven't gone to YouTube yet to review, but it was clear that although the vehicle made it to orbit and may have made it through the intended insertion window, attitude (roll axis) control was not happy. I hope SpaceX will discuss what happened...purely as a matter of engineering curiosity, I wonder if it was a problem with roll G&C or whether a nozzle/bell burn asymmetry put a torque on the vehicle that was beyond G&C roll control authority, or ???

From the first link (1)

schn (1795404) | more than 4 years ago | (#32472900)

'...it looked like a row of lights, maybe four lights', he said.

contact on earth 2010 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32473142)

Hi all,

Troll here, are we all going to just let this moment pass us by, or acknowledge that something amazing has happened on planet earth, what's the next step? contact on tv with live alien beings? disclosure project is nearing their goal!

Correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32474280)

But since we know what it was, wouldn't that make it an _Identified_ Flying Object?
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