Houston…. the Falcon has Flown!

By Mike Deliman

deliman_lg.jpgLast week something remarkable happened. I'm not talking about the UFO sighted over Brisbane (…or am I?)  Last week Spacex successfully orbited the first successful commercial attempt to launch such a device. Wind River is proud to be a part of this historic endeavor.

It's hard to convey how exciting this is.  This represents a HUGE step for mankind, a transition of the technology necessary for space exploration now being handled by commercial entities.  Something like this may be our fledgling answer for "what to do about Manned exploration now that ARES is cut".

With permission, I'll reprint an entry from a space software engineer's blog entry as he watched the launch… (note: the "e#" marks are edit points as the engineer updated the blog in real-time.)

—–

http://www.spacex.com/webcast.php

has just come off a 15:00 hold….
[e1] it's been on hold for
several hours.
[e2] 11:00 and counting…
This is a new
commercial launch vehicle.
[e3]Terminal count launch started.

T-
10:00
[e4] count continuing
changing camera angles, etc.
It's
a cloudy day at the cape.

T- 9:00
[e5]Standing by for
firing….
T- 8:00
chatter about status

T- 7:00
[e6]checking
valves, etc, for propellant
more chatter. Still venting LOX.
T-
6:00
[e7]Fully charged… on internal power.
transmitter
working

T- 5:00
[e8]Interrupters rotating arm. (?)
Count
continuing.
T-4:00
[e9]LOX venting has increased
there is
venting at the bottom as well now
T-3:00
[E10]T-2:30 LD GO
FOR LAUNCH
[E11]T-2:00
RCO verify range go – RANGE GO!
[E12](more
people are on the stream, it's having problems now)
(T-0000)
IT'S
UP!
[E13]Missed the last minute of count – but I did get to see
the actual launch. The Falcon 9 is on it's way up.
[E14] They seem
to be having more feed problems (or I do). There – split screen now.
They've passed MaxQ. The plume behind the rocket is feathered-out as
expected in very thin atmosphere. (T+3:05)
[E15]Nominal function
at t+4:15 . Second stage is in flight. The main rocket motor is
glowing hot.
Everything is running Nominally (except the error on the
web site).
The rocket nozzle is glowing white hot in some places –
this is expected. Everything is performing nominally.
[E16]Telem
acquired by New Hampshire. There are apparently grass fires near the
hangars. The camera on the rocket appears to be functioning well, the
rocket is in a slow roll. So far it's looking all good.
Missed 2nd
stage separation and ignition.
Right now there's a feed error…
[E17]The
launch has been a success. More info, photos, and video will be posted
to spacex as it becomes available.

——

Note: there are video highlights available at the SpaceX web site, as well as more information about Falcon, Dragon, and Spacex.  CONGRATULATIONS SPACEX!!