All You Want to See Here Is Falcon Heavy

The stats on WordPress say that your favorite topic to read about here on my blog is news and info on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch system, particularly this old and outdated article HERE. That article finally surpassed what I had thought was the coolest science article I’ve ever written here about the truly disturbing foraging practices of the Praying Mantis. BTW, if you get too close to a mutant, anywhere near human or even dog-sized praying mantis and its bobbing its head left and right like a boxer, then prepare to meet your maker. It’s ranging in on you and you’re about to be eaten alive while screaming in agony. Just sayin’.

SpaceX Starship SN8 high altitude (and dramatically final) test flight

The truth is, the SpaceX Starship is slated to eventually replace both the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy. Its fully reusable design burns epic amounts of methane in its truly epic and powerful Raptor engines (full-flow staged combustion…the best in the business) to bring home every scrap of hardware after every launch. They even started their own petroleum company to bring them methane to feed the monster. The Falcon 9 (and the Falcon Heavy which uses Falcon 9 hardware) will never…EVER…recover the second stage. It’s just too hard, even for SpaceX.

I postponed publishing this article for over a week so that I could talk about the Starship SN9 test flight, but apparently, the FAA is unhappy with something about the SN8 flight and keeps delaying the SN9 license. It’s almost as if epic explosions were a bad thing. This caused Elon to criticize them on Twitter…

Anyway, I’m tired of waiting. I guess I’ll just have to write about it later. You probably won’t read the article though, since it will be about Starship and not Falcon Heavy.

Meanwhile, SpaceX’s OPERATIONAL ladder to Mars has moved into its crewed spaceflight phase of the learning curve with its crew-rated Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon that will never go to Mars. They recently announced the NASA crew for the next flight. Falcon Heavy will never send people to Mars either. Falcon Heavy is too small.

No, really…the most powerful currently operational launch system in the world is not enough to fly people to Mars. Sorry. SpaceX has no plans to even crew-rate the Falcon Heavy anyway…so Falcons ain’t takin’ anyone to the Moon either. I don’t understand why MY readers remain so interested in the Falcon Heavy since it will never fly people. The United States Air Force (actually, Space Force now) is so interested in it that they’re having one of SpaceX’s competitors develop a 9 meter payload fairing for it, just so that they can launch REALLY big payloads that they can’t talk about into geosynchronous orbit some day. However, since they can’t talk about them, I can’t either. I’d better cover those Falcon Heavy launches though, if I want to keep my readers.

A moon rock decorates Biden's Oval Office | Human World | EarthSky

President Biden has a Moon rock in his office. As VP to President Obama, he would have supported administration policy back then when administration policy regarding the Moon was “Been There Got the T-shirt”. So…is the rock on the President’s desk a reminder to keep pushing the envelope and shoot for the moon, or is that rock just Joe Biden’s Moon T-Shirt? Only time will tell. Either way, SpaceX will likely land a Starship on the Moon by at least 2025 anyway, regardless of whether the President and Congress let NASA do it.

Just the same, the current lull in Falcon Heavy launches equates to somewhat of a lull in traffic on this blog…especially since I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump, another big hit-getter, and I want to get away from talking so much politics anyway. So, since I need traffic to promote the “Twilight Tales” prerelease, containing my short story “Adventures in House Sitting”, here I go talking about Falcon Heavy again, even though there is very little news.

Guess what? 50 Democrats and 5 Republicans in the Senate voted last month to violate the United States Constitution by  holding an impeachment trial against a private citizen…right after taking an oath to uphold the Constitution. This after the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court notably BOYCOTTED the trial. Oh…oops, I talked politics again. Sorry.

Recently, as I looked for Falcon Heavy stories on SpaceflightNow.com, I learned that the U.S. Air Force has a Falcon Heavy launch coming up this month.

Of course, due to the secrecy surrounding the USAF spacecraft to be launched, I can’t find much about it…

Wait, did I say “February”? Yeah, the above Tweet is outdated. The date has since slipped to (perhaps) March.

They don’t talk schedule much. Covid-19 has perhaps added too large a variable to their timeline. Ya, Covid, something else that we are all tired of hearing about.

Waymo seems to think that Lidar is better than camera imaging and advanced AI for autonomous driving. Ya, right.

Did I mention that Starman, the mannequin-in-a-Tesla that was launched on a Falcon Heavy into permanant Solar orbit, will make it’s closest fly-by of Earth this coming Spring? No?

Boeing has a new flight date for its reflight of Demo 1. I sure hope they get it right this time because as cool a SpaceX is they really need reliable competition if we’re going to have a healthy space industry going forward.

SpaceX recently flew the same Falcon 9 booster a tenth time. That’s new. Oh, and they saved a couple of old oil drilling rigs from the scrap yard. They intend to use them to start learning how to fly Starship (not Falcon Heavy) from a platform offshore.

NASA’s SLS cleared it’s throat and test fired its engines for eight minutes…wait, did I say eight? It was a full system test and low gimbal control hydraulics pressure tripped a program limit and shut down the engines at around one minute. They have a flight on the calendar for SLS-Orion at the end of this…erm…NEXT year that will now be delayed another month and a half to slip in a new eight minute test firing attempt.

Michael López-Alegría, Larry Connor posing for the camera: Ax1 crew members: Commander Michael López-Alegría, mission pilot Larry Connor, mission specialist Mark Pathy, mission specialist Eytan Stibbe Axiom Space

Last month they announced those who would fly on the Axiom private flight to the International Space Station sometime next year. No, these gentlemen don’t work for NASA, but they are going into orbit in a SpaceX Crew Dragon and will pay $55 Million each for the flight and the expense of hosting them aboard the station. This is what the world looks like when private companies have the ability to fly in space. Expect more of it. They’ll fly there on a Falcon 9 though…not a Falcon Heavy. Sorry.

Good thing none of them are hedge fund managers shorting Gamestop or they might not be able to afford the flight…as if Elon Musk would let a hedge fund manager ride one of his rockets anyway. 😉

I know. I know. All you want hear about is Falcon Heavy.

I’ve got nothing.

~ by Bill Housley on January 31, 2021.

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