back to article SpaceX makes successful rocket launch

Elon Musk's SpaceX, space cargo contractor and purveyor of space rockets for the well-heeled masses, successfully launched a two-stage rocket into orbit on Saturday. The rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 9:54am local time, carrying a satellite payload on behalf of Iridium Communications. Ten …

  1. Alister Silver badge

    In that instance a SpaceX rocket blew up on the launchpad, incinerating a Facebook satellite.

    Goddamnit Gareth, how many more times: IT WAS NOT A FACEBOOK SATELLITE!

    1. 2460 Something

      You know you can report errors? I'm not sure he is going to pick it up from the comments :P

      1. MrT

        Report errors...

        Depends what version of the site you're using - there are very few extras on the mobile web version, including the "Tips and corrections" link at the bottom of the articles. Unless you know it exists on the full version, and then click on the "Change to Desktop edition" link first, that won't be obvious.

        Plus we need to keep up our post count, otherwise our badges disappear (like mine has at some point over the Christmas/New Year break) ;-)

        1. 2460 Something

          Re: Report errors...

          If I'm making a comment I always use a PC, Kudos to you if you type all that on a tablet with good punctuation throughout. :)

          Post counts can be frustrating :( Sorry you lost your badge, do you have to start from the beginning now or will you go straight back to silver once your posts are up?

          1. MrT

            Re: Report errors...

            Normally I comment using my phone on the mobile site, which makes it even more fun adding in hypertext elements. It doesn't show stuff like the post icons (either to add them, or those that people have chosen and then referred to "Like this ----->" as part of their message). If I do muck something up I have to switch about to the desktop version to get the 10-minute edit window too. There's probably an app or something, and hopefully a redevelopment of the system in the pipeline someday soon...

            I've been contributing on this site for just over 9 years, read it for a lot longer, but not yet got to Silver (only about 60 upvotes to go). The bronze badge has vanished a few times before, but reappears when the total passes the 100 posts per year lower limit. Silver builds on that and needs 2,000 upvotes. There are only a very few worthy gold badge holders (10 when the system was first introduced 4-or-so years ago) - not sure how many now, but Lester needs his posthumous one at the very least.

            1. Mark 85 Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Report errors...

              but Lester needs his posthumous one at the very least.

              Lester got his gold badge.

    2. IglooDude
      Pint

      We know it wasn't, and yet even being reported incorrectly, the thought of a "Facebook satellite" being incinerated cheered me up this morning.

      As did the successful launch and barge-landing here. Well done, Space-X!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Goddamnit Gareth, how many more times: IT WAS NOT A FACEBOOK SATELLITE!

      Now, now, Space X needs all the positive press it can get, and blowing up a satellite in any way, shape or form even just notionally linked to Facebook will, ironically, give them a lot of thumbs up.

      If they'd blown up anything important it would be different, but a Facebook satellite, well, that just brings smiles and good cheer to everyone. Well, OK, except Zuck, but that just makes it even better :).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It would be best if they could incinerate Facebook satellites without damage to their own rockets, though.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It would be best if they could incinerate Facebook satellites without damage to their own rockets, though.

          I suspect they wouldn't get much from the insurance if they only fried the satellite. And it wouldn't get as many hits on YouTube :)

        2. VinceH Silver badge
          Mushroom

          "It would be best if they could incinerate Facebook satellites without damage to their own rockets, though."

          FTFY!

    4. Arctic fox
      Joke

      @Alister RE:"IT WAS NOT A FACEBOOK SATELLITE!"

      Pity.*

      No, I am not hostile to Space X. See icon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Alister RE:"IT WAS NOT A FACEBOOK SATELLITE!"

        > I am not hostile to Space X.

        Yeah, I don't get that SpaceX derangement syndrome.

        Is it just for pretending to be based and edgy?

        People pining after Big State programs?

        What?

  2. JetSetJim Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Well done SpaceX

    There's a fantastic sped-up video of the landing on their FB page.

    1. 2460 Something

      Re: Well done SpaceX

      I love watching the rocket launches, there is also a nice sped up version of the successful first stage landing. C'mon MoonBase, it feels so close now :D

    2. MrT

      Re: Well done SpaceX

      There's also a regular-speed version with commentary on YouTube - the SpaceX team certainly don't seem to be bored by it yet!!

      1. 0laf Silver badge

        What does it say on the landing pad?

        Looks like "Of course I love you" or something odd like that.

        Looked up pictures of the drone ship and they all have "Just read the instructions" written on them.

        Is there some 'in' joke there?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What does it say on the landing pad?

          Previous barges have been named after Ian M Banks Culture Ship "Minds".

          1. 0laf Silver badge

            Re: What does it say on the landing pad?

            Ah, not books I've read yet. Thanks for clearing up that mystery for me.

        2. xeroks

          Re: What does it say on the landing pad?

          it's the names of the ships, both are nods to Iain M. Banks.

        3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

          Re: What does it say on the landing pad?

          Yes to the injoke, they're all references to Iain M. Bank's culture series of sci-fi novels.

        4. This post has been deleted by its author

        5. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: What does it say on the landing pad?

          As others have said, the drone ships are named for vessels in Iain M Banks' "Culture" novels ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Culture )

          So far, SpaceX have used "Just Read the Instructions" and "Of Course I Still Love You"

        6. jpo234

          Re: What does it say on the landing pad?

          Look here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_spacecraft_in_the_Culture_series

        7. IsJustabloke
          Happy

          Re: What does it say on the landing pad?

          "Just read the instructions" is the name of the drone ship

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well done SpaceX

        "There's also a regular-speed version with commentary on YouTube ..."

        That's impressive in that the onboard camera functions all the way down.

        Here's a side view from distance.

        1. rabn21

          Re: Well done SpaceX

          That footage in the link is from an older landing (CRS-8). The latest launch on January 14th was the IRIDIUM-1 mission.

        2. rabn21

          Re: Well done SpaceX

          The side view posted here is from an earlier mission (CRS-8). The most recent launch on January 14th was IRIDIUM-1.

          Interesting though that they plan to re-use the booster from CRS-8 in an upcoming mission (SES-10) somewhere around the end February/early March depending on weather and a lack of another RUD.

      3. IsJustabloke
        Happy

        Re: Well done SpaceX

        the SpaceX team certainly don't seem to be bored by it yet!!

        why would they bored by that? its a very cool thing!

      4. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Well done SpaceX

        There's also a regular-speed version with commentary on YouTube - the SpaceX team certainly don't seem to be bored by it yet!!

        I quite agree and thanks for that link. Is it me or is the camera but the rocket looks like there's a little bend just above the top of the landing legs?

        1. MrT

          Re: Well done SpaceX

          I thought at first that was part of the fairing shape around the legs, but then looked again at different angles and reckoned it was the camera lens combined with looking down a very long cylinder that's visually foreshortened. Then I look more, change my mind again and decide it's a combination of these two...

          On the two different side view angles at the end, the first looks curved because of the landing burn scorch marks and the unmarked shapes uncovered by the landing legs, but the later silhouetted view shows it straight.

    3. Sweep

      Re: Well done SpaceX

      Could do with having the Police Squad theme dubbed over it.

    4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Well done SpaceX

      "There's a fantastic sped-up video of the landing on their FB page."

      Ok, I'll bite (I can always have a shower afterwards!) and what do I see? An effing great banner telling me to join or sign in with a little, unobtrusive "not now" link below. So I click "not now" and what happens? The banner slightly reduces in size then moves and obscures the bottom 1/3rd of the page and ***stays there***.

      "See more of SpaceX by logging in to Facebook"

      Not on your effing nellie!!! Zuck, you &*%$ing bastard!

    5. Sureo

      Re: Well done SpaceX

      FB wants me to log in or sign up .... it's to youtube for me. Blow up, FB.

      1. JetSetJim Silver badge

        Re: Well done SpaceX

        At this time this sped up video is not on Youtube for some unknown reason - apologies for any trauma caused to ppl visiting FB when they don't have an account. A few folks have posted cuts of the real-time landing, which are about 3 mins long, but I can't find a sped-up variant of this landing, only one of the Falcon-9 first stage landing

  3. RIBrsiq
    Headmaster

    It was not a launch failure. No launch was planned, that day.

    Also: keep at it, SpaceX! This is almost boring...

    1. Spudley

      Also: keep at it, SpaceX! This is almost boring...

      Yes, they've heard you on that, so they're rushing to complete Falcon Heavy so they can do a triple landing to blow your mind all over again.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        @Spudley,

        Won't be entirely in triplicate at the same time though. The 2 boosters would land at the same time, the core stage would land later (and probably on a barge) since, as Musk puts it: It's hauling serious ass by the time it separates. Still, looking forward to having my mind blown.

        I watched the first succesful barge and RTL landings live and both times it was amazing. Really hoping I can get to watch the first Heavy launch live too. (And I'm considering taking a trip to the US at some point to experience a launch too)

      2. A K Stiles
        Pint

        Also: keep at it, SpaceX! This is almost boring...

        Sufficiently 'boring' that I managed to miss it happening completely, until now! Nice smooth looking landing from the youtube recording, great work those techs & engineers etc.

    2. Craig 2 Silver badge

      "This is almost boring..."

      I'm looking forward to the day when it becomes not even news. A bit like the first transatlantic flights, now there's thousands of them every day. Still, if you go and look at flightradar24 then even that is still impressive!

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        I'm looking forward to the day when it becomes not even news.

        Nearly there. The best indicator is right in front of your eyes. El Reg could not be arsed to pull up any pics and used a stock picture. That is one of the clearest tell-tale signs that this is not really news any more.

  4. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Odd.

    Isn't it strange how frankly amazing things like successfully landing a stage on a barge suddenly become a whisper and secondary to the 'non news' of the craft not blowing up like the one not carrying a Facebook satellite did?

    1. Tom_

      Re: Odd.

      WE WERE ON A BREAK!

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Odd.

      The conspiracy theorists are already out there calling fake 'cos of the telemetry glitch from the barge and onboard cameras at the point of landing. They seem to have missed the long range camera shot which didn't glitch and showed the landing complete successfully. They'll probably claim it's CGI :-)

      I can only assume they are so insistent they are faked because the Earth is flat so it can't be orbited so all these rocket and satellite things must be faked. Poor deluded fools!

      1. DougS Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Odd.

        Of course they can orbit. The earth is flat, but its round. They just go round and round the outside then come back to the middle to land. Its going around the back side that's impossible, because that's where the turtle lives!

      2. mosw

        Re: Odd.

        "The conspiracy theorists are already out there calling fake..."

        And Elon agrees with them. As he has pointed out, we likely all live within someone else's massive simulation.

  5. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    oook oook reporting

    Rocket not go boom

    Rocket go Whoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooosh

    Strange phones can now go RingRing for more time!

  6. phuzz Silver badge

    "Iridium plans another nine satellite launches[...]. Each launch will carry 10 satellites."

    That's a whole lotta satellites!

    1. Brian O'Byrne

      Especially when you consider that the entire constellation consists of 66 satellites with 6 in-orbit spares (and further spares on the ground).

      I think Mr. Corfield needs to check his facts and figures.

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        facts and figures

        As I understand it, these Iridium satellites are part of a new, 81-satellite, setup that replaces the present 66-sat one (although spaceX site simply says 'at least 70 satellites). And they currently have another 6 flights booked.

    2. jpo234

      Compared to the 4000 satellites that SpaceX plans to use for their own constellation it's small fry.

      See here: http://www.businessinsider.de/spacex-internet-satellite-constellation-2016-11

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No more flares

      Apparently, no flares with this new batch. That's lights in the sky, not the 70's trouser. The old f'larey' batch will be de-orbited. Catch them while you can.

  7. Lotaresco
    Coat

    Culture

    So the rocket "Pretentious? Moi?" manages to land on the drone "Just Read the Instructions."

    Just kidding.

    The chap obviously has good taste in reading material.

    1. Spudley

      Re: Culture

      You jest, but I really do hope that he does start naming the rockets as well soon -- if he's going to re-use them then surely they deserve to be given names.

      And personally, I reckon "Pretentious? Moi?" would be an awesome name for one of them. I think you should tweet Musk and suggest it. :-D

      1. xeroks

        Re: Culture

        It's an interesting note that he named the launch pads but not the rockets. It might just be because the rockets are expendable, even the first stages.

        However, I'd like to think Musk is secretly using the the launch pads to test AI: that the name applies to the AI and not the hardware.

        1. WonkoTheSane Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Culture

          Not the LAUNCH pads, the LANDING pads. There is a difference!

        2. jpo234

          Re: Culture

          The first Mars ITS is tentatively named "Heart of Gold" after the space ship from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".

  8. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Flame

    Down with this sort of thing

    I'm not never going to watch a launch again if no non-facebook rockets don't explode. Nope!

  9. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Well-heeled masses

    purveyor of space rockets for the well-heeled masses - that's an itsy-witsy bit snarky! It's true, but in a good way. A few years ago even the well-heeled few couldn't afford their own rocket. Now it's commonplace. The Japanese had a failure the other day for a small rocket that was trying to launch a 4kg payload, but the rocket only cost $4 million. India got a satellite to Mars for $74 million.

    Space is becoming everyday - ain't that wonderful?

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Well-heeled masses

      If we can avoid full blown Kessler syndrome it will be wonderful. I'm not sure the current approach to mittigating the risks will work in the long term. We're still slinging a lot of crap up there that'll never come down or be recovered.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Single engine

    "Single engine landing burn, so the deceleration process is longer and slower than previous landings"

    That's new.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Conspiracy? Two references to speeding bullets during the webcast.

    Am I the only one to notice the two references in describing (early on) the rocket's velocity to orbital speed as "about 8km/s or 10x the speed of rifle bullet" at 2m21sec, by SpaceX's "Materials Guy", Micheal Hammersley. He again, reiterates this at 24m23secs.

    I'm guessing, but given he works in materials, you can guess what he really thinks caused the previous accident.

    The camera movement at 5m is interesting as it coincides with MH describing how SpaceX implemented "all the corrective actions to cover all the credible causes for this failure", at which point the camera shakes left and right as to say 'no', then move the camera to just show the top 'dick' part of the rocket.

    Internal Politics is always good to watch.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Conspiracy? Two references to speeding bullets during the webcast.

      @AC,

      Man you seriously need to upgrade your Tin-foil Hat, and your meds!

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Conspiracy? Two references to speeding bullets during the webcast.

        It depends on whether ransomware was paid...

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Conspiracy? Two references to speeding bullets during the webcast.

      All you conspiracy theory deniers will be laughing on the other sides of your faces when the Giant! Space! Frogs! Attack!

      Nurse! Nurse!

  12. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Gob Smacked

    Just look at the precision of that landing... on a moving target. I can't do that well just parking my car!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Landing on Barge Video worked pretty good this time...

    Congratulations to the SpaceX Comm team. The live landing video was from an entirely different angle (looking down), but it was very nearly continuous. A few minor cut-outs, but not bad.

    Made for a good show. Thank you.

    PS: The hosts commented on this exact topic a few times. Which is amusing.

  14. DanceMan

    Reusing a booster

    I take it we're still waiting?

    1. jpo234

      Re: Reusing a booster

      SES-10, which will launch on the booster from CRS-8, has been shipped to the Cape a few days ago: https://twitter.com/SES_Satellites/status/820952308410355713

      It should lift off in February.

  15. MT Field
    Go

    Win!

    " a SpaceX rocket blew up on the launchpad, incinerating a Facebook satellite"

    Also, congratulations to Elon and the gang, this is becoming almost routine.

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