XCOR Lynx Propulsion Milestone!

I'm thrilled that XCOR has finally released a press release on this topic so I can finally open my blabbermouth (but even now I have to check what I say so that it doesn't give away more objective information than the press release itself does).

Awesome epicness. That's what this is. I was there in the bunker for that hotfire. Now I fully know what people mean when they talk about a "Peenemunde Minute." It felt like an hour. An hour of sitting on a stool in a bunker, forgetting how to breath, and wondering if that thunderous roar is going to vibrate me onto the floor.

That's about all I can tell you. And this video is about all I can show you. So enjoy!


An Eventful Saturday (2/2): Friends of Amateur Rocketry

After Plane Crazy, my goal was to find the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR) launch. All I knew was that they were at the "East end of Koehn Dry Lake." With a little Googling I was able to find the site in no time. 

I'm hoping to get involved with a project called "Sugar Shot to Space" (SS2S) while I'm out here in Cali. SS2S's goal is to build an amateur rocket that reaches space using good ol' rocket candy for propellant. I'll keep you posted on how involved I get, but for now I recommend checking out their website to learn more: http://sugarshot.org/

As expected, I arrived way late just as everyone was leaving, but it was a fun trip anyway. If I thought I was in the desert before, I was really in the desert now. There were dunes that were drifting up onto the road in places. It felt less like the Mojave and more like the Sahara. 

A view across Koehn Dry Lake.

If this sign was talking about flooding of sand I just might believe it. (Actually flash flooding in the desert is a thing, I guess).

One of FAR's rocket test stands.

They are well equipped with bunkers, buildings, shipping containers and launch towers.

Looking forward to a future event so I can be there for the whole day!


An Eventful Saturday (1/2): Plane Crazy

Last Saturday was just plain crazy! That is, Plane Crazy, a periodic event at the Mojave Spaceport where people will show off their airplanes that they've built or collected and just hang out. The main event was a presentation on rocket photography by Mike Massee, XCOR's photographer/videographer. It was fun going to the Spaceport on a Saturday, just chilling, setting up the Lynx model and showing people around. My co-intern Parag and I got to play around with the Lynx when there was nothing else to do. This thing is an epic full-scale mock-up of what the Lynx will actually be, and instills great inspiration for space travel in whoever climbs into the cockpit. Not having ever even flown in a rocket powered vehicle before, I already have the "Rocket Grin:"

(My friend Parag is on the right in this one).

Some other planes that were there:

Long EZ, the type of airplane that XCOR converted to a rocket plane back in the early 2000's. I didn't quite realize how tight the cockpit was!

Below is an F86 Sabre.

Every day at Mojave is new and exciting. Most days you can look up and see the Air Force flying something cool like an F18, even on rare occasions an F22.

(I'm told the above is an F18. You can't expect a rocket scientist to know all the airplane names).

It was a packed day! After Plane Crazy I decided to try another Miniadventure and find some Amateur Rocketeers... (Stay tuned for the next post)


Happy Berth Day SpaceX!

SpaceX has successfully completed its third mission to the International Space Station. They actually had some issues with the thrusters after launch, three of the four thrusters were not operational. The spacecraft could still function with two thrusters offline, but NASA wanted at least three up and running before attempting to dock. It apparently was a software issue and they got it worked out in the end. Congrats SpaceX! Looking forward to the day when you can bring people up, too!