Sunday, March 03, 2013

Tweets from Space

Fifty years ago, a guy orbiting Earth in an International Space Station, sending astounding photographs from outer space directly to a video screen in your own home or a device in the palm of your hand, could only have been a character in a sci-fi show. Today, in real life, Cmdr Hadfield is living on that space station and tweeting real time photographs like this.

This was from the capture of the unmanned Dragon supply ship which is a privately owned capsule. Somehow I didn't know this until now:
SpaceX — Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to keep the station well stocked. The contract calls for 12 supply runs; this was the second in that series.
This company is owned by the same guy who runs Tesla. Meanwhile, our Cmdr. Hadfield is going to be living on the space station for a long time. He's the science officer on this mission and will be the lead on the next one. No holodeck on the ISS yet but apparently some small comforts of home arrived in this shipment. He tweets:
What a day! Reached & grabbed a Dragon, berthed her to Station & opened the hatch to find fresh fruit, notes from friends, and peanut butter.
This is heading into Star Trek territory in slow motion. Guess you have to be of a certain age to be awed by it. Me. I'm astounded I lived long enough to see this happen.

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Blogger Mule Breath said...

I was unaware of the misson as well, until earlier today when an 82-year-old friend mentioned that SpaceX had managed to achieve successful lift-off following a day's delay for a technical glitch. Such accomplishments have become so routine that they have lost their newsworthiness, but they continue to amaze me.

9:32:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

I knew about the mission but I didn't realize NASA had contracted out the supply chain to a private company. It's pretty damn incredible that we now have private companies that do that. At least to me.

8:50:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Cool, isn't it? You may remember a book from long, long ago -- Robt. Heinlein's The man who sold the moon about a space program that just petered out to be revived again by a private investor.

Of course those who use the success of private space endeavor to tell us the government can't and shouldn't do anything at all have to remember that it would have been completely impossible without the huge investment in space technology by the US (and Russian) government without which we wouldn't even have the technology with which you're reading this.

10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

And of course there will be some who will say that Fogg. Still, they can't ruin the wonder I feel every time they make a new breakthrough.

11:22:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I feel the same way and I wish we spent more on this stuff and less on stealth bombers.

3:20:00 PM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

You and me both.

3:41:00 PM  
Blogger Mule Breath said...

That book along with most of what Heinlein wrote are gathering dust on my shelves. One of a group known as The Big Three, Heinlein's fantastic predictions repeatedly have presaged modern discovery.

10:42:00 PM  

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