back to article SpaceX sends Iridium-8 into space while Musk flaunts his retro rocket

SpaceX launched its first mission of 2019, fulfilling its Iridium contract, while the Falcon 9 due to loft the company's Crew Dragon demo mission remained resolutely attached to Florida. The Iridium-8 mission launched from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at California's Vandenburg Air Force Base at 1531 UTC, sending into …

  1. werdsmith Silver badge

    The deorbiting of the Iridium constellation means the end of Iridium flares from the night sky.

    And the amusement from overhearing people who have just seen a spectacular one for the first time, as they try and work out what it was.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Shoot... there's the amusement of being in Orlando and watching people absolutely lose their shit when they see a launch. Or hear the double booms from the Shuttle landing.

  2. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Colonel, you better have a look at this radar.

    Colonel: What is it, son?

    Johnson: I don't know, sir, but it looks like a giant--

    Jet Pilot: Dick.

    Dick: Yeah?

    Jet Pilot: Take a look out of starboard.

    Dick: Oh my God, it looks like a huge--

    Bird-Watching Woman: Pecker.

    Bird-Watching Man: Ooh, Where?

    Bird-Watching Woman: Wait, that's not a woodpecker, it looks like someone's--

    Army Sergeant: Privates! We have reports of an unidentified flying object. It has a long, smooth shaft, complete with--

    Baseball Umpire: Two balls.

    Baseball Umpire: What is that. It looks just like an enormous--

    Chinese Teacher: Wang, pay attention!

    Wang: I was distracted by that giant flying--

    Musician: Willie.

    Willie Nelson: Yeah?

    Musician: What's that?

    Willie Nelson: Well, that looks like a giant--

    Colonel: Johnson?!

    Johnson: Yes, sir?

    Colonel: Get on the horn to British Intelligence and let them know about this.

    Basil: Did we get Dr. Evil?

    Johnson: No, sir. He got away in that rocket that looks like a huge--

    Schoolteacher: Penis. The male reproductive organ. Otherwise known as tallywhacker, schlong or--

    Dad: Weiner? Any of you kids want another weiner?

    Son: Dad? What's that? points at rocket

    Dad: I don't know, son, but it's got great big--

    Peanut seller: Nuts! Hot salty nuts! Who wants some-- Lord Almighty!

    Woman: That looks just like my husband's--

    Ringmaster: One-eyed monster! Step right up and see the One-Eyed Monster!

    One-eyed Monster: Hey, what's that? It looks like a big--

    female Fan: Woody! Woody Harrelson? Can I have an autograph?

    Woody Harrelson: Sure thing. Oh my lord.

    Female fan: It's big!

    Woody: Nah, I've seen bigger, it's--

    Dr. Evil: Just a little prick. It's a flu shot. You've been in the coldness of space.

    Mines the one with guide to using a Swedish penis enlarger...

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Colonel, you better have a look at this radar.

      The earlier attempts, for some reason I can't quite put my finger on, reminded me of not Flash but Flesh Gordon...

  3. Nolveys Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Falcon 9 boosters should be able to manage 10 flights without needing an overhaul, and go for at least 100 flights before retirement.

    That is just too cool. Can't wait for the first landing attempt on another world.

    Also, I think Starship will look pretty cool once they get the wrinkles out.

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Yeah, nothing more pathetic looking than a wrinkled Starship...

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Is a large ironing board and steam iron on the schedule? Starch or no-starch?

      1. Dvon of Edzore

        It's made with fully hardened stainless steel so heavy starch, no fold. We'll hangar these.

    3. macjules Silver badge

      You only live twice, Mr. Bond ..

      You can not even see the opening jaws designed to grab innocent Soyuz capsules and then return to Mr Musk's Mount Rishiri base.

  4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    In other news: SpaceX has just laid off 10% of its employees.

    Mixed messages...

    1. Starace Silver badge

      Some people would wait until they were on a truly solid commercial footing with their main business before starting on glory projects with no obvious way to pay for them.

      Say for example shiny 'interplanetary' 'starships' with a design more related to old comics than to anything that ever actually flew.

      Then again why change the pattern of a lifetime and finish one thing before moving onto the next ten halfarsed, late, underdelivered projects?

      1. notowenwilson

        "Some people would wait until they were on a truly solid commercial footing with their main business before starting on glory projects with no obvious way to pay for them"

        And some people would be working an average job, living an average life in an average suburb making an average contribution to the world.

        Between you, me and Musk only one of us has built an orbital launch business and it's not you or me...

      2. rg287 Silver badge

        Some people would wait until they were on a truly solid commercial footing with their main business before starting on glory projects with no obvious way to pay for them.

        SpaceX are on a solid commercial footing. They have the cheapest launch solution on the market (F9) and the most powerful rocket in service anywhere in the world (Falcon Heavy, available for 1/3 the price of a Delta IV Heavy). They also have the only cargo capsule capable of returning significant downmass from the ISS (Dragon) and will shortly have a man-rated launch vehicle (Crew Dragon) that will allow the US to send it's own astronauts up instead of buying seats from the Russians. The "traditional" space industry have failed to manage any of those things.

        SpaceX's actual launch business is structurally sound and profitable. If it wasn't he wouldn't have got this far and Falcon Heavy would still be a paper rocket.

        Their R&D for Starship is funded through share sales to new private investors, as well as the profits form their lucrative launch business. On paper they turn a loss because they're spending more than they earn, but they could scale back "the glory projects" if investor income dried up and keep the lights on with their world-leading launch business.

      3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Rich gits

        "Then again why change the pattern of a lifetime and finish one thing before moving onto the next ten halfarsed, late, underdelivered projects?"

        Personally I find Musk as bit of a dick. Ego all over the place, visions of personal glory, picking fights on twitter etc. He's not even being a fun Bond villain anymore :)

        But compared to many other mega wealthy individuals, he's actually doing something with his money that might result in making life better. It's supposed to be how market capitalism works, but too often those who've made their billion decide that their purpose is to use that money to shoe off. Subterranean swimming pools in Chelsea, buying sports teams, competing for the silliest yacht etc.

        If every millionaire acted a bit more like Musk, maybe we would already have our flying cars.... :)

      4. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Their commercial footing is just fine.

        I appreciate it's much easier to run your mouth and not bother to look shit up, but you perhaps should research the reasons behind the current shiny design before berrating it for looking like something out of an old comic. The switch from carbon fibre to high grade stainless steel is not for shits and giggles.

        I suggest looking up things like "Hot metal structures", "thermal mass", and the reasons for the surface being polished. Apparently the shiny finish is better at withstanding and rejecting the heat from the re-entry bow shock, than a matte surface.

        Though how long it remains shiny under those conditions... be the mother of all detailing jobs after landing.

    2. Peter2 Silver badge

      To be fair, have you ever worked in or otherwise heard of any organisation of ~six thousand employees without a few hundred people who could fairly be described as "dead wood" where the more competent and productive staff end up having to spend time fixing the work done by the incompetent?

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

        Employee Reviews: -10 to +10

        P2, "...'dead wood'... [versus] done by the incompetent?"

        Emplyees shoudl be ranked on a scale that runs from -10 (actively does harm), through 0 (harmless dead wood, does nothing, not at work), to +10 (does much good, perfectly).

        Dead wood rank a zero on my scale. Almost a passing grade.

        The incompentent doing things wrong rank minus on my scale.

        It's a more useful scale than 0-10. The added negative range (-10 to 0) helps to clarify thoughts.

        If you replace somebody that never even shows up (in rehab, again, thus "0") with somebody that shows up and does significant harm (errors, mistakes, disasters, thus -10), then you've gone backwards.

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: Employee Reviews: -10 to +10

          Nice idea. Which is why it'll never be allowed. Too much PC-ness these days. But still, nice idea.

  5. ColonelDare

    I've waited years for this and now it is all coming TRUE!!! :-)

    > Falcon 9 is but a mere stepping stone to Elon's mighty Starship,

    Final design is already on the drawing board..... here. (image c/o Haynes Publishing)

    I won't mention I have just ordered one for my birthday (the manual, not the starship sadly) in case it is construed as a advertising, but I have. My handle might explain.

    1. David Given

      Re: I've waited years for this and now it is all coming TRUE!!! :-)

      I did find this artist's impression of it landed on the moon.

      (Hmm, now I feel inspired to have another go at finding the Dan Dare TV series on t'interwebs. It's surprisingly hard.)

  6. Aqua Marina

    Paint it red!

    Please paint it red, and stick a big number “3” on the side!

    1. ColonelDare

      Re: Paint it red!

      > ...according to Musk, as the exterior will get too hot for paint.

      But it may glow red as it goes super sonic.

      Or red-shifted from white as it enters its next hyperspace jump? Who knows?

  7. beast666

    Star bangled banner

    Did you miss it? The UK would do well to align with the US and ditch the collapsing EU asap.

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: Star bangled banner

      I'm sure POTUS would welcome us if we took 50% of the NASA budget. Alternatively and a little cheaper we could build him a wall covered in star spangled banners. Indeed I'm surprised the Chinese haven't made the offer already in return for removing the tariff wall.

      Easier than trying to squeeze $5bn out of the Democrats - or even Mexico?

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Star bangled banner

        You only need enough wall to look good on a TV camera,. Stick it on Fox and he wouldn't know any different.

    2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      Re: Star bangled banner

      "The UK would do well to align with the US and ditch the collapsing EU asap."

      I thought Trump had ended the "special relationship" as it wasn't clear to him why the USA would do anything for anyone ever, without getting paid.

      Hence why when he won, instead of calling the UK PM first, he called her.... 27th?

      I'd also vote for the UK moving to say the Caribbean, so we could align more closely with the USA :D

  8. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

    It looks like it was built outdoors by a water tank assembly crew...

    "...the final version would lack the, er, ribbed appearance of the VTOL test version..."


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