A Book, a Rocket, and Some Other Updates

I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought I would give a quick update on the status of everything. The rocket engine post is in the process of creation, but is getting pushed back because of school.

In the meantime, SpaceX has launched another rocket – this time from a very famous launch pad – Launch Complex 39A.

The reason 39A is so famous is because it was the launch site of both the Saturn V rocket, which took people to the moon; and the Space Shuttle, which did a lot of cool things, like take more people to space, and build the International Space Station.

Launch Complex 39A, Apollo Era (1967 – 1972). The Saturn V depicted in the picture was a test flight, called Apollo 4. NASA wanted to test the rocket before people went to the moon later.
LC 39A, Space Shuttle Era (1981 – 2011). Notice the fact that there is an extension sticking out of the tower. This Rotating Service Structure was used to put payloads into the shuttle. This mission in particular was STS-134 – the second last space shuttle mission ever.
This is the new LC-39A. SpaceX leased (borrowed) the pad from NASA in 2014 in built a hangar to make their rockets.
SpaceX’s latest launch from the same launch pad. Notice how there is a smaller tower that is a bit tilted. This is the new structure that SpaceX is using for their Falcon 9, since it uses a different system for transporting and launching the rocket.

A cool thing about SpaceX is about how they build their rockets. While NASA builds their spacecraft vertically (like a skyscraper), the Falcon 9 is built horizontally, then propped up for launch using a dedicated launcher. LC-39A used to use a “moving launchpad” that would carry a spacecraft from when it was built to when it was launched. SpaceX uses a different system and had to change the launchpad a bit.

The NASA way of doing it – build up, and move the launchpad with the spacecraft.
The SpaceX way of doing it – build to the side, and move the rocket to the launchpad.

I also picked up a book, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future. It’s pretty good so far, and I will recommend it if it ends up being really good. You can check it out here on Amazon.

That’s about it for this one. I will work on my next big post when I can – and hopefully it will be out by the first week of March.

If you’re interested in SpaceX, you can read an earlier post that I did about it here.

Otherwise, thanks for reading!

Stay tuned and stay sciency,

Mingde

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