back to article SpaceX's Crew Dragon shows up at pad 39A, nearly 8 years after the last Shuttle left

SpaceX took another step toward sticking humans atop its Falcon 9 rocket as one of the units, equipped with a crew version of the Dragon spacecraft, was erected at pad 39A at Florida's Kennedy Space Center. The Falcon 9 went vertical at 2230 UTC last night to allow engineers to check all connections line up as expected. Once …

  1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Excellent stuff!

    Fingers crossed twiddling of thumbs at NASA ends soon, and the test can go ahead

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: Excellent stuff!

      I wasn't sure if you were referring to Musk's rocket, or El Reg's subheading!

      Excellent innuendoing, El Reg.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Flame

        Simon Harris Re: Excellent stuff!

        Sorry, I think someone at El Reg needs to get laid.

        Or they are just being lazy and not creative.

        I mean how hard is it to make out the rocket as a phallic symbol?

        Really, that's lazy. We need some creatives people!!! Its Friday and unlike us Yanks, you Brits drink during lunch.

        I'd done the flame retardant jacket, but hey! I'm the guy who's poking the bear.

        1. shawnfromnh

          Re: Simon Harris Excellent stuff!

          Correction, everyone at El Reg needs to get laid MORE. but don't we all.

        2. Nolveys Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Simon Harris Excellent stuff!

          I mean how hard is it to make out the rocket as a phallic symbol?

          It's very, very...hard.

          1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

            Re: Simon Harris Excellent stuff!

            Well played sir.

            See... and you didn't even have to try.

            Sorry, El Reg, you guys and gals are 'slackers!'.

            Try harder!

        3. Duffy Moon

          Re: Simon Harris Excellent stuff!

          "Its Friday and unlike us Yanks, you Brits drink during lunch."

          I think your 'intel' is at least thirty years out of date there.

          1. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

            Re: Simon Harris Excellent stuff!

            "I think your 'intel' is at least thirty years out of date there."

            ... You mean that we Yanks DO drink at lunch? Huh. I've been missing out, then!

            1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

              Re: Simon Harris Excellent stuff!

              I think you have it backwards.

              Yes I said you Brits drink at lunch, Yanks don't.

              Of course this observation was done a couple years back, although it tapered off when even one drink would put you over the legal limit... unless you could walk to the pub ...

        4. Roj Blake Silver badge

          Re: Simon Harris Excellent stuff!

          It takes balls to do it well.

  2. caffeine addict Silver badge
    Joke

    Looking to the left of the launch tower - I hadn't realised how big Sputnik was...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No, that's the Martian observer.

      1. Nik 2
        Alert

        Header tank for Mr Musk's ego?

    2. MiguelC Silver badge

      Looking to the right side... when will that thing star to shout Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!?!!

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        trainee plumber

        > Looking to the right side... when will that thing star to shout Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!?!!

        Just as soon as someone plugs in the toilet plunger

        My first thought when I saw that thing was that if someone painted a smile on it's "top" it wouldn't look out of place in the next Star Wars film.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lol

    presumably it will take off sideways, land upsidedown on a balloon, and run off a battery made by Tesla the size of two regular AA cells?

  4. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    Its upright and breathing

    Which is pretty much the best I can bet on in any morning myself. Good morning Dragon4People.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      Re: Its upright and breathing

      I'm sure there's a joke in here somewhere about massive erections. But I am, of course, far too mature to make it...

  5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Naming conventions

    Dragon Crew Capsule. Simple and descriptive.

    Boeing Starliner. A bit like the Wright brothers calling the Wright Flyer the Jumbo Trans-Atlantic Airliner!

    Marking people should be kept well away from prototypes and early production models.

    1. Brangdon

      Re: Naming conventions

      SpaceX aren't much better. They've renamed the BFR to Starship, even though it won't be flying to any stars.

      It's a brand name thing. Their satellite internet will be called Starlink. The Falcon Heavy Tesla pilot was called Starman.

      1. roytrubshaw
        Coat

        Re: Naming conventions

        Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that Elon is trying to replicate all of the technology in "Oath of Fealty"?

        • He's investing heavily in AI and Neural implants.
        • He owns a tunnel boring company (and several tunnel boring machines).
        • Tony Rand (the chief engineer) uses the creation of the Arcology as practise for building a 'Generation Starship' (OK this last one is a bit weak - but he did change the name to "Starship")
        I'm sure at some point it will turn out that his favourite quote is "Think of it as Evolution in Action"

        Mine's the one with the 27-year old paperback in the pocket

        1. A.P. Veening

          Re: Naming conventions

          "Oath of Fealty"

          Thanks for pointing that one out, but I fear most people here don't know this novel by Larry Niven (who is rarely if ever referred to here in the comments).

          1. Stevie Silver badge

            Re: Naming conventions

            Well this *isn't* an SF forum.

            But I think you might be surprised to learn how many know of Larry Niven, got the reference but didn't feel the need to point out how to understand it. He was widely published by Sphere, if memory serves, in the UK. Sphere were a major quality paperback SF outlet during Niven's early career.

          2. Simon Harris Silver badge

            Re: Naming conventions

            Sadly, I think it took Jerry Pournelle dying to get much of a mention of Larry Niven on the Register - I think Niven's science fiction writing is the more entertaining of the two though, although I enjoyed Pournelle's Chaos Manor.

            1. Simon Harris Silver badge

              Re: Naming conventions

              I take some of that back - in the 'Best Sci-Fi films never made' article in 2011 by the much missed Lester Haines, no less than 6 Niven or Niven/Pournelle books are listed.

              Someone must have got the hint as some of Lester's list have since been filmed.

              https://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/04/27/sci_fi_movie_poll/

          3. Persona

            Re: Naming conventions

            Oath of Fealty was written by Niven and Pournelle who has been mentioned here before. It's very hard to spot who wrote which bits as their writing styles blend.

          4. shawnfromnh

            Re: Naming conventions

            I loved Ringworld when I read it a few decades ago but I've never heard of that one. I think it's time to go to the bookstore soon and get me a copy.

          5. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

            Re: Naming conventions

            .. And Jerry Pournelle.

        2. OssianScotland

          Re: Naming conventions

          "Think of it as Evolution in Action"

          Unfortunately I have only one upvote to give you

  6. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

    What's in a name

    Crew Dragon? Like a dragon taking off by shooting fire out its arse?

    Or is the crew riding on the dragon's backend, with the head firing down?

    1. DasWezel
      Mushroom

      Re: What's in a name

      Perhaps then it should be simply called Errol.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: What's in a name

        Crew Dragon carries the soup kettle and field kitchen.. So, tinfoil?

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: What's in a name

          the soup dragon already lives on the moon.

          1. Spherical Cow

            Re: What's in a name

            According to the documentary series, the Soup Dragon lives on either a star or a planet, depending on which episode you watch. Definitely not the moon though.

  7. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
    Flame

    I hope that NASA don't disappoint me!

    If we're going to have a test of whether the escape system can work on rocket failure - I'm going to be very sad if they just simulate that failure. I would much prefer to see a launch where NASA have strategically sabotaged the rocket, so that it will explode at an unpredictable time - thus fully testing the systems in question - and entertaining us with large fireworks.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Mushroom

      A launchpad RUD is hugely expensive to repair, so in this scenario they would want the 'unexpected' bang to happen after it has left the field.

      I doubt that they'll commission a giant firework though - much simpler to 'abort' from a static, unfuelled, test rocket. Ground level is also the most difficult to abort from (certainly in aeroplane ejector-seat systems) as you have to boost up before you can parachute down. So it could be argued as being a more thorough test, even if it's less satisfying to the lay observer.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Ideally, I want something like the early failure images/video from NASA in the 50s. A lot of which mirrors the original German video from testing at Peenemunde. My ideal test would be a rocket that launches to a few hundred feet - then suffers a (in this case deliberate) control failure and so cartwheels and then flies back into the ground - creating a very large explosion.

        Sadly replicating this might have rather severe consequences for the various facilites at KSC - but it wouldn't half be pretty.

        I suppose taxpayers might legitimately complain about the cost as well.

        Spoilsports!

      2. F111F
        Mushroom

        RSD (Rapid Scheduled Disassembly)

        The in flight abort is scheduled for later this Spring and will use the same DM-1 capsule. The first stage has yet to be identified. The plan is to demonstrate the abort at MaxQ, triggering the sequence in the most stressful part of the launch profile. I've heard two versions of how it might happen. First, just send an abort command at MaxQ and see what happens. Second, detonate the first stage (tricking the AFTS or through planted explosives?) at MaxQ and let the abort computers do their thing. It'll be fireworks whichever method is used.

        (Icon for blowing stuff up)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RSD (Rapid Scheduled Disassembly)

          My understanding is that they will shutdown the booster engines at MaxQ so the Dragon sees it as a booster failure and triggers the abort. The reasoning is that if the first stage of the booster blew up the engines would stop instantly or if the unexpected drop in acceleration is because the second stage has disintegrated (again)….. it's time to abort before the first stages catches up.

          There are of course many other mechanisms that could trigger the abort with or without a change in acceleration. You can't test everything live.

      3. rg287

        I doubt that they'll commission a giant firework though - much simpler to 'abort' from a static, unfuelled, test rocket.

        They did a pad-abort test a few years back.

        This abort test will involve blowing up a booster in-flight at or around Max-Q which is the most difficult point to abort at - although you have altitude, the capsule is also bearing the brunt of the aerodynamic forces, pressing it back onto the exploding booster that you're trying to separate from!

    2. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Quote:If we're going to have a test of whether the escape system can work on rocket failure - I'm going to be very sad if they just simulate that failure. I would much prefer to see a launch where NASA have strategically sabotaged the rocket, so that it will explode at an unpredictable time - thus fully testing the systems in question - and entertaining us with large fireworks.

      SpaceX have already done the pad abort test. fun watching the capsule goto 300 mph and 1500 ft in a couple of seconds.

      The inflight abort test (coming soon)is strapping the capsule to a falcon 9, launching the thing, then hitting the abort button at max-q

      Whether the falcon 9 can still land.. or be intact after this is anyones guess

      boeing have done neither test....

      And of course, the timing of everything depends on how long it is until trump has finished having his tantrum.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wow, only 7 years?

      Somehow it feels longer.

      That's what she said...

      (or what he said, if that's your preference. Equal-opportunitry pervert here.

  9. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Questions remain: Will Thunderbird 3 accompany Dragon X into orbit in an observational role or is that more the responsibility of Fireball XL5?

    1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: Bah!

      Zero X seems more suited than TB3 (SSTO).

      http://thunderbirds.wikia.com/wiki/Zero_X

  10. shawnfromnh

    lets try something new.

    We all know about the LHC. Well lets take that tech and shrink it down make it straight and have a plasma drive with a small nuclear plant to power the magnetic fields and to force the particle collisions. Then when they collide funnel the reaction with a magnetic field to the tail end. Then we don't go to mars but do an expedition out of the solar system and take a look around interstellar space and take a ton of reading because with a drive like this you could move a large mass at high speed and under constant thrust you'd be moving very fast while passing Jupiter and would be slowing down the rest of the way. Hell with the nuclear fuel and the tiny amount of fuel needed for plasma reactions you could do a lot of stuff on just one trip and go many places also and not just out and send back info but investigate a lot of stuff and with pilots you could maneuver better since you don't have minutes spent before a maneuver is received or have to preprogram everything before the mission. Hell give them some charts and goals and let them explore and just have a large earth side beacon so they can find their way home.

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: lets try something new.

      Let me introduce you to my little friend named VASMIR. ;)

      1. davetalis

        Re: lets try something new.

        Let me introduce you to my friend Orion, much more bang :-)

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: lets try something new.

      "Hell give them some charts and goals and let them explore and just have a large earth side beacon so they can find their way home."

      Is this intended to be a five year mission?

      1. elkster88
        Trollface

        Re: lets try something new.

        "Here's your star charts" [boss hands prospective space explorer a sheaf of papers]

        "But they're all blank!"

        "Yes, if you wouldn't mind terribly, be a good chap and fill them in as you go ..."

        (Shameless rip-off of "Potato", couldn't help myself)

  11. Nolveys Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Looking Forward To The Manned Flight

    Sending real humans into space will be a huge milestone for SpaceX and commercial space flight in general. I've been looking forward to it ever since I first heard of Dragon. Once they pull it off I think things will get very interesting.

    Best of luck to all involved.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder about Boeing's entry in the race...

    At least some observers in the US are speaking of a Boeing takeover of DoD. With Shanahan taking over as acting SecDef, and Boeing getting green-lighted for billions of dollars worth of arguably dodgy aerial refueling tanker contracts, maybe there is a grain of truth in this view.

    Makes you wonder about the future of SpaceX's DoD heavy lift contracts. More to the point, Boeing's lifters will likely get some sizeable chunks of taxpayer wealth - regardless of performance.

    Would be fun to watch, except my taxes are paying for all this.

  13. I&I

    Drag-On

    Two interpretations come to mind

  14. Milton Silver badge

    Branding B0110x

    The naming for some of the tech is worth a chuckle, I agree, but surely the award for Most Egregiously Inflated Testiculation¹ goes to Virgin Galactic—it has the most yoogest bigly name ("galactic") yet it is the least serious and useful of any of the current "space" endeavours, being unable even to get into orbit. It just flies up, makes some rich halfwits sick—just as Nasa's "Vomit Comet" has been doing for half a century—and then (we hope) at least occasionally brings them back alive to get a I Are Big Astronut badge fresh from Dickie's cereal box. What a pity the money is being wasted on such a pointless stunt when it could be invested in real spaceflight.

    (And yes, you have to hope the DoD sups with an even longer spoon where Boeing is concerned ... the revolving door has never yet resulted in a better plane or a better deal for the taxpayer. That said, it's hard to imagine to glee in Moscow and Beijing as they watch America's air power steadily commit Suicide By F-35: Lockheed are even worse than Boeing.)

    ¹ I saw "testiculation" defined as "Waving one's hands while talking bollocks": sums up the Beardie-inspired Virgin management culture to a tee.

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: Branding B0110x

      the revolving door has never yet resulted in a better plane or a better deal for the taxpayer

      I think you are making a category error wrt to the purpose of the revolving door. I think you will also find that there are several taxpayers for whom it has yielded more than satisfactory results

  15. NanoMeter

    Erections are Go!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    China went where boldly no one had gone before (back of the moon ) and

    NASA resources ...are ... twiddling thumbs

    What country is now great again ?

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