back to article SpaceX flings SES-12 satellite into orbit, but would-be lunar tourists should probably unpack

SpaceX finally got the SES-12 comms satellite into orbit this morning while a trio of International Space Station (ISS) crew members returned in a trusty Soyuz capsule after 168 days in the black. Delayed from 1 June due to an unspecified issue with the second stage of the two stage Falcon 9, SpaceX reset the clocks for a …

  1. James 51 Silver badge

    Was thinking that humanity needed to get its act together about getting into space but realised we're going to have to wait for space elevators before that will be a reality. Where's my turbo lift to GEO?

    1. arctic_haze Silver badge

      Space lifts?

      A space lift would be the #1 target for every terrorist. Just imagine the results of a 9/11 type of attack against it.

      1. catprog

        Re: Space lifts?

        Yep most of the elevator will be lifting away from the planet.

        The small lower bit will break and litter the earth in tiny pieces.

      2. James 51 Silver badge

        Re: Space lifts?

        @haze Put a large no fly zone around it. Auto turrets to shoot down drone. If you can safely assume everything that moves is a target it reduces the complexity required in the targeting systems.

    2. tfewster Silver badge


      > Was thinking that humanity needed to get its act together about getting into space...

      Personnel from NASA, JAXA & Roscosmos, being lifted by "evil" Russia to an INTERNATIONAL Space Station? Resupplied by a US company? What more do you want?!

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Re: Cooperation

        Assuming every person who ever went into space was alive today, you could fit them all into a smallish conference room. To gather together every person who ever directly worked on getting them into space, you'd need a city. Possible several cities and if you go further down the supply chain, a small country. The supreme effort required to get a person safely into space is simply too great for it to be an option for the vast majority of humanity. We need new technologies which reduce the amount of effort required to get people and the stuff they need to survive into space.

  2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    "wrestling with an uncooperative antenna"

    The Russians are still using AE-35s?

    1. Craig 2

      Re: "wrestling with an uncooperative antenna"

      "The Russians are still using AE-35s?"

      That particular piece of hardware had a 100% service record...

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: "wrestling with an uncooperative antenna"

        Indeed, but I couldn't resist

  3. Vinyl-Junkie


    If you watch the launch video here at MET 00:00:17 something large and flaming falls from the rocket back to the pad.

    1. asphytxtc

      Re: Odd!

      Actually, that's just a lens flare, it's quite common to see them on nighttime launches. I've certainly seen several over all the launches I've watched.

      Although, yeah, don't get me wrong.. I have a momentary bout of "OH %~!*!!" every time it happens! ^.^

      1. Vinyl-Junkie

        Re: Odd!

        Thanks - it's the fact it appears to be leaving a trail behind it but I guess that's an artefact of the camera sensor.

      2. BoldMan

        Re: Odd!

        JJ Abrams has been directing launches again...

        Looks like an internal refection in the camera lens.

    2. Alastair MacDiarmid

      Re: Odd!

      Lens flare, duh.

  4. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    168 days in the black

    Better than my bank account.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Would-be lunar tourists should probably unpack

    They really should have unpacked about 4 months ago. On 5th February Musk said that they were probably never going to human rate the Falcon Heavy .

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Would-be lunar tourists should probably unpack

      Do you need the Falcon Heavy to swing past the Moon? I'm sure you don't have the fuel to get into lunar orbit, but is it possible to have a nice eccentric Earth orbit that goes round the Moon?

      Elon Musk shouldn't name his barges after Iain M Banks ships though. He should go for Douglas Adams gags instead. As Adams, like Musk, loves deadlines. And the whooshing sound they make as they go past...

      Not that I'm having a go, SpaceX has so far achieved things it promised. Just a few years late. I don't know when Dragon 2 will fly, but I'd not be surprised if they still beat Boeing. And BFR is due for 2019 I think, but I'd be amazed if that even comes close.

      1. annodomini2

        Re: Would-be lunar tourists should probably unpack

        "BFR is due for 2019"

        Grasshopper style tests only, no orbit.

      2. Hopalong

        Re: Would-be lunar tourists should probably unpack

        Short answer is yes.

        Long Answer is yes, Dragon-2 has a dry mass of 6,400Kg, so adding fuel, etc you are looking at around 10,000Kg, a Falcon 9 can do about 3300Kg to the Moon. It needs a Falcon Heavy, expending the centre core.

        BFS (The spaceship part of the BFR) is schedule to start Grasshopper type testing next year. Orbit? 2020-21 I think.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Would-be lunar tourists should probably unpack

        "Do you need the Falcon Heavy to swing past the Moon"

        Tourism generally involves going somewhere and coming back alive. If you were into extreme tourism

        you could do it from an F9 in a spacesuit with a rocket strapped to your back to recapture you into Earth orbit, but you would need a second F9 with a Dragon capsule to rendezvous with to have a survivable reentry.

        Alternatively you could adopt the "Moon Direct" strategy developed by Robert Zubrin and actually visit the lunar surface without needing people to fly on an FH, but that is a much more complex endeavour.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Would-be lunar tourists should probably unpack

      Is there any launch vehicle of spacecraft that has actually launched on schedule?

      IIRC the first manned launch of Soyuz was delayed well over a year, and still ended up being a failure (RIP Vladimir Komarov). Various parts of the Apollo program also slipped by years (eg the first flight of the LM was supposed to be in 1965, but didn't end up occurring until '68).

      Space is hard, perhaps Musk should just be a bit quieter about when he hopes things will happen.

  6. arctic_haze Silver badge

    It's 2018...

    ....and the Russians are still using the 1960s era Soyuz capsules?

    1. Scott 1

      Re: It's 2018...

      If it ain't broke...

    2. Martin Budden

      Re: It's 2018...

      *everyone* is still using Soyuz ;-)

    3. mhenriday

      Re: It's 2018...

      You might, «arctic_haze», wish to consider that wthout the Soyuz, there would be no activity at all on the misleadingly named «International Space Station»....


      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: It's 2018...

        Why is it misleadingly named?

        It's a space station which is funded, operated, owned and crewed internationally. Seems a pretty good name to me.

  7. Scott 1

    Life in Florida

    Scared the s*** out of me when the windows were rattling just after midnight last night. I didn't expect to get that, considering I live more than 45 miles (~70 kilometers) away from the launch pad.

  8. GBE

    comprehensively blew it up

    It is also the seventh launch from the rebuilt launch pad since SpaceX comprehensively blew it up during the fueling of a Falcon 9 prior to an engine test in 2016.

    I'm not sure why, but the phrase "comprehensively blew it up" made me laugh out loud. :)

    1. PPK

      Re: comprehensively blew it up

      They dun blowed it up real gud!

      (obvious icon is obvious)

  9. Mystery Machine

    I was there :-)

    First launch for my family and I. We watched from Titusville as KSC viewing was closed out of hours but it was a real delight to see, hear and feel a night launch after a day at KSC and it was our last day away before returning to blighty so shit or bust for us.

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