back to article SpaceX: CATS with FRIKKIN' LASERS to blast off to space station

While the rest of us are taking down the Christmas decorations, the astronauts on the International Space Station are still waiting for their presents – and Elon Musk's SpaceX rocketeers plan to fire them into orbit on Tuesday, weather permitting. This resupply mission will try to haul up some of the cargo that should have …

  1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    I'm calling my lawyer...

    If I get blinded by Japanese atmosphere-measuring laser pulses! But then, I have a habit of staring at the sun a lot.

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: I'm calling my lawyer...

      Apparently they're also going to be scattering Triffid seeds into the atmosphere.

      What's not to like?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. squigbobble

        Re: I'm calling my lawyer...

        "What you say?"

      2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

        Re: I'm calling my lawyer...

        CATS: All your station are belong to us

  2. MD Rackham

    Russian "engines", please. As re-built by AeroJet.

    The "booster" was all Orbital's.

    1. Vulch

      Actually the rest of the first stage is largely Ukrainian.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > make the descent while SpaceX's landing barge gets into position

    So it's a big version of a kid's ball-and-cup game, skilfully move your barge to catch the falling rocket stage? Possibly while dodging exploding Russian "boosters"...

    Three Kings Day - time for Xmas decorations to be packed away and copy editors to confine their imbibing to the lunch hour!

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: > make the descent while SpaceX's landing barge gets into position

      I'm wondering what odds the poor little barge has got. If the rocket has a 50/50 chance of successfully landing, that is quite a big chance of missing the target altogether, added to another chance of hitting the target and going KA-BOOM! Is the barge KA-BOOM-proof?

      1. Crisp Silver badge

        Re: Is the barge KA-BOOM-proof?

        If you hear an Earth Shattering KA-BOOM at about 11:40, you'll have your answer.

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Disappointed, I am.

    After looking at the clickbait headline I was hoping this launch would precede one with sharks and lasers. Or maybe it might have something do with testing a cat to see if it lands on it's feet when tossed in zero-gravity. Oh well... it's after beer-o'clock here.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Disappointed, I am.

      Not quite, but if the launch fails in the "going up" phase (let's hope it doesn't) than at least some sharks stand some chance at acquiring a brand new laser - one with 5000 shots per second, no less! We'd be doomed! Doomed, I tell ya!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hey, can I marry Elon next?

    For $8 million a year I'd have sex with that guy!

    1. FunkyEric

      Re: Hey, can I marry Elon next?

      Looks like he got off lightly doesn't it?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: For $8 million a year I'd have sex with that guy!

      For $8 million a year I'd have sex with any guy.........or better yet, a woman :)

  6. ravenviz

    most of the students will get to see their investigations re-flown

    Sorry for the kids whose experiments didn't make it second time round! Gutted!

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Still, having your stuff in a rocket which blew up would be pretty neat (if it was unmanned - was it?)

  7. Christopher Lane


    More to follow...

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Scrubbed...

      I'll follow (As I've been watching this too)

      A stabilisation module in (from what I heard - the Dragon capsule) gave off some duff data, so the launch was scrubbed.

      Rescheduled for 0509 (presumably local time) on Friday.

    2. Christopher Lane

      Re: Scrubbed...

      "This mission was aborted just two minutes before launch after an unspecified problem was discovered in the rocket’s second stage and scrubbed for the day. Due to the narrow window for launch determined by the International Space Station’s orbit, the next opportunity for lift-off is this Friday, January 9, 2015."


  8. Tim Brummer

    Musk should have married someone like Jean Peters:

    "In 1971, Jean Peters and Howard Hughes divorced after a 14 year marriage. She agreed to a lifetime alimony payment of $70,000 annually, adjusted for inflation, and she waived all claims to Hughes' estate."

  9. K.o.R

    So, why are they specifically trying to land the first stage (which seems like an incredibly difficult proposition)? Couldn't they use parachutes (and possibly landing rockets) and floats to get it in the ocean intact and then go pick it up?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      I don't know if it's the reason, but I really wouldn't want to re-use a booster stage that had actually been in seawater rather than just exposed to airborne salt sprays. One of the things I had to do every quarter whilst shipboard or stationed shoreside was a sonic cleaner dip and high-pressure air dry on my computers, otherwise the damn solder joints would corrode. Obviously not Navy MILSTD. [There's a reason that painting a ship is a continuous process and that's it. Turn your back and rust spontaneously recurrs.]

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      They don't want to drop it in all that horrible corrosive salt water. Or come to think of it, bang it into that nasty water, it doesn't compress so it's surprisingly hard and the top keeps on wobbling about. It's also expensive to have recovery fleets to pick stuff up.

      SpaceX is all about re-usability and low cost. The Dragon capsule can land on land. I don't think the current one is reusable though, as they're still playing with the reusable engines for the man-rated capsule. That will land on land, and will be re-usable. Those engines also are supposed to be able to fire up quickly, so the capsule doesn't need an escape tower to whisk the astronauts off in case of a pad explosion. And they're supposed to be re-usable for wandering around space, and for the de-orbit burn, and to land the capsule on the Moon and get it back off again. Although I'd imagine there'll be a few trips to the ISS and re-designs before they try that.

      So I guess the same goes for the rocket. They've already tested the landing stuff with their Grasshopper test rocket. So as you might struggle to slow an unweildy rocket from hypersonic speed with parachutes without bending it, or causing it to tumble - and it's got rocket motors anyway, why not use those. And seeing as they've solved the problem of landing a rocket, why not do that too. Particuarly as if you use a parachute you might bend the thing when it hits the ground too. At which point it costs so much to re-furbish it before re-use that you may as well not bother. Like the Shuttle solid rocket boosters. You need re-usable engines in order to re-use the rocket, so none of this should be an extra problem - and parachutes are probably not much ligther than the extra fuel needed anyway.

      The landing is in water now, so if they screw up and crash the rocket, it won't land on anyone's head. Eventually the plan will be to take of from Canaveral, and land right back there ready for servicing and re-use. I'd imagine they've got to hit the barge a few times before the FAA will certify them.

    3. Snowman

      The reason for returning to land is salt water is hell on the engines and other components, it would need expensive maintenance after every splashdown, possibly more expensive than just ramping up the production of new cores. They looked into parachutes first but determined it was not going to work for their needs.

  10. Bucky 2

    I was sad not to find a picture of a kitty to post on the Facebook.

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