Space double-header tomorrow. pl


"There's a lot of spaceflight action on tap Sunday morning (Dec. 17), and you can watch it all before the first NFL game of the day kicks off.

Three new crewmembers are scheduled to launch toward the International Space Station (ISS) aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Sunday at 2:21 a.m. EST (0721 GMT; 1:21 p.m. local time in Baikonur). Watch the liftoff live here at, courtesy of NASA TV; coverage begins at 1:15 a.m. EST (0615 GMT).

A few hours later, SpaceX's robotic Dragon capsule — which launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket Friday morning (Dec. 15) — is scheduled to arrive at the ISS on a cargo run for NASA. Coverage of the freighter's rendezvous and capture by the station's huge robotic arm begins at 4:30 a.m. EST (0930 GMT), and coverage of Dragon's installation on the ISS starts 3 hours later, at 7:30 a.m. EST (1230 GMT)."


I watched the launch of this Dragon on live TV a few days ago.  It was magnificent.  pl

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26 Responses to Space double-header tomorrow. pl

  1. Allen Thomson says:

    Yes, and both the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket and the payload (Dragon capsule) were reused. This is way different from the way things used to be done and has the potential to open up space a lot.
    The next interesting thing to watch is whether SpaceX can make the Falcon Heavy work next month.

  2. Haralambos says:

    Col. Lang,
    Thank you for keeping us abreast of these events in addition to your other concerns. It is exciting times, indeed, for our attempts to learn more and for our American and Russian relations in these joint ventures.

  3. doug says:

    I saw the Falcon 9 as well. Magnificent return too!

  4. David says:

    Yes, it was great watching the launch and the return of the first stage.I wonder what kind of future the SLS will have once the Falcon Heavies are flying.

  5. Lars says:

    There is now an effort to build a landing pad at the Cape, which is a major step in the evolution there. The current one is too close to the industrial area, which has to be shut down and evacuated when they land rockets.
    Space X is doing well, including making port management back off when they tried to exhort money from them to use the port for their landing barge. That effort lasted about 24 hours until public opinion reversed it. The locals know what the space program can do when it is working and they also know what happens when it is not.

  6. Morongobill says:

    Naive perhaps, but wouldn’t it be interesting if President Putin invited President Trump to come and watch one of these liftoffs?
    No doubt in my mind that they would both get along and enjoy the show, maybe even get some business done.

  7. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    When I was young, it seemed so likely that visiting space would be a possibility. Then the 80s and the emphasis on a classified shuttle program and the collapse of the Soviet Union took that dream away.
    With both commercial and governmental, and competition with Chino, perhaps today’s youth who dream of stars will have a better chance ot reach them,

  8. Donald says:

    Slightly off topic, but certainly space related. I was wondering what the Colonel and others make of this UFO Pentagon story in the NYT.. I am taking it at face value and assuming it is true that military pilots have seen some really odd things. My own opinion is that we need multiple experts in atmospheric physics to see if they can come to a plausible consensus on a natural explanation. If not, we have a really interesting problem here.

  9. turcopolier says:

    The most interesting of these reported phenomena are for me the Phoenix Lights and the spectacle in 2000 of a low flying triangular object, well lit up, that was tracked across Illinois for several hours in the pre-dawn morning by police on patrol. This was in the area between St. Louis and Scott AFB. pl

  10. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Likely an experimental aircraft.

  11. turcopolier says:

    In both instances it was silent. Airship? pl

  12. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Would make sense, such crafts could be really useful for reaching locations that are very difficult to access via land transport. Such vessels could be delivered and assembled close to their final point of deployment and then launched. They are fuel efficient and can hover for a longer period of time above a location. Ideal for search and rescue situations, such as earth quakes.

  13. Peter in Toronto says:

    Since we’re on a space-related theme, have you heard of the 22-million dollar “Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program” Colonel?
    Some light was recently shed on this in the NYT:

  14. turcopolier says:

    Peter in Toronto
    IMO we should have a yet bigger program like this. The only bad thing about this is that it would indicate to me by inference that we do not have an ongoing relationship with the little grey people. Sigh. pl

  15. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Donald Trump has announced that the USA will put a man back on the Moon again, and build a facility on it that will enable astronauts to travel on to Mars, thus re-igniting the space dreams of the 1960s and 1970s.
    “It’s going to be big, people! My Fellow Americans, Space belongs to the USA. My aim is to build a unique, super-de-luxe golf course on Mars,” explained The Donald in one of his — now legendary — Tweets. “Melania can’t wait to sunbathe on Mars. Beat that, China, you Oriental losers! Donald Trump will say one more thing: Watch this space or, should I say, Space! LoL.”

  16. John Minnerath says:

    US investigation into UFO’s began in 1947 with Project Sign, Then on to Project Blue Book, probably one of the better known.
    They have gone on continuously, the biggest problem is that they all have been cloaked in secrecy.
    Blue Book did do some public releases, but they all debunked sightings as “naturally occurring phenomena.

  17. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In a Tweet, President Donald Trump commented: “When we establish a permanent space city on the Moon and send American astronauts to Mars, part of the mission will be to check out Mars for the presence of aliens — I mean aliens from outer space as well as illegal aliens such as undocumented Mexican immigrants, fanatical Muslims, North Korean terrorists, and Chinese Commies. Sleep soundly, my fellow Americans: Donald is dealing with the UFOs and all the rest of it… We will build an American Wall on Mars of a kind no one has ever seen before, not even the Martians!”

  18. Peter in T.O says:

    Or that perhaps there are layers of government outside of the public realm that do interface with the guests? The Office of Naval Intelligence gets brought up in the conspiratorial circles as one of those with the most influence over all aspects of “defense” in America, since the Navy is the oldest and most established defense institution in America.
    What this last election proved to me is that there is a permanent ruling class that is a parallel entity to public government.

  19. David says:

    This is interesting story of how classified Soviet
    rockets were seen as UFOs.

  20. Donald says:

    To me what is frustrating about the subject of UFO’s is that in the public arena people seem unwilling to take it seriously. They are, I think, afraid of ridicule. But even if there are explanations not involving aliens it should still be considered important to find out what they are. In the NYT story you have fighter pilots chasing something. Presumably American fighter pilots are as well trained as any pilots in the world, so if it wasn’t an aircraft apparently there is some bizarre atmospheric phenomenon that can fool people into thinking they are looking at advanced aircraft. This could lead to awkwardness in tense situations. If US pilots can be fooled I am guessing anybody could.

  21. Donald says:

    To spell it out, I am wondering how the North Koreans would react to a UFO in their air space, something they might assume is one of ours. Or others could probably think of other scenarios.

  22. Donald says:

    Reading the NYT on my iPad has advantages and disadvanges. The disadvantage is that I think I miss stories reading it on the iPad compared to print.
    Anyway, here is an account of yet another fighter pilot UFO sighting in 2004. I missed seeing this one yesterday. Unnamed experts in the story say these things often have natural explanations. No doubt. I would like to know what would explain this.

  23. SAC Brat says:

    You mean like, how would NK respond to something like the Loring AFB UFO sighting?

  24. Hallelujah and jubilation! Now it’s all worth it. Just came across a story about Ahheuser-Busch pledging to be the first to brew beer on Mars. They took the first step by sending some barley grain to the ISS on this resupply mission to see how it grows in Space. This is a worthy endeavor, but I don’t want Budweiser (love-in-a-canoe) to be the first beer brewed in Space. I want some order of monks to make a deal with Musk to work towards crafting a truly fine Space brew. Wouldn’t we all like to see a monastery/brewery established in one of those lava tubes on the Moon?
    Another vision is of astronauts/cosmonauts conspiring to produce some kind of illicit hooch on the ISS. Just hope it works out better than one of my father’s stills on a troopship in the Mediterranean. It blew up leaving the compartment bulkheads covered in pieces of dried fruit. It’s the reason he had to make sergeant twice during his stint in the Marines.

  25. Donald says:

    I wasn’t aware of that incident, but yes, I wonder if the North Koreans would react calmly if a base with nuclear weapons was visited by either a mirage that looked like an advanced aircraft or by little gray men. Hopefully the little gray men have regulations in place about which tribes of us primitive earthlings they are allowed to buzz. And hopefully God keeps the weird atmospheric phenomena away from NK bases.
    I don’t lie awake at night worrying about it, but when you read such accounts involving the US military it makes you wonder how others would respond to strange situations.

  26. charly says:

    Ahheuser-Busch is Belgium owned so you don’t have to worry except if they start with brewing Budweiser

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