Saturday, September 22, 2018

I Made The Pilgrimage To SpaceX Headquarters

The Falcon 9 B1019 rocket booster made history when it launched, deployed eleven satellites, and then made a successful vertical landing in                    Cape Canaveral, Florida, on December 22, 2015. 

   No self-respecting space fan would miss the opportunity to take a picture next to the Falcon 9 rocket on display at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Last year (August 2017), I was flying back to LAX from a horticulture meeting in Hawaii. I had a three-hour layover, and I asked the friendly space community in the Facebook SpaceX group if they thought I should leave the airport to go see this rocket late at night. DO IT was the overwhelming response. 
   So here I am, with my wilted Hawaiian lei and favorite Lava Lava Beach Club t-shirt, standing in front of the WORLD'S FIRST ORBITAL-CLASS ROCKET BOOSTER that SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHED and then SUCCESSFULLY LANDED - VERTICALLY - at Landing Zone 1 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Watch this incredible video of the SpaceX employees cheering when they realize what happened:


   In more recent news, Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has agreed to buy seats for himself as well as six to eight artists of his choosing for the first commercial flight around the moon. The Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) planned to make such a journey is still in development. In a public news conference on September 17, 2018, Elon Musk said he estimated the total cost of the rocket development for the moon trip will be around five billion dollars. Maezawa's total cost for the trip was not disclosed. 
Twitter post courtesy of Elon Musk. 

   Just for fun, I took a poll in all of the college classes I teach at Arkansas Tech University. 65 students responded to the survey. I do not have many art majors in my human anatomy classes, but I asked all of my students if they would fly with Maezawa on SpaceX's rocket if they were invited. The majority of them said "Yes!" 

                   Moon survey results from 65 undergraduate students at                        Arkansas Tech University. 


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