Congrats SpaceX

After a lot of what must have been frustrating attempts yesterday, SpaceX finally succeeded in doing their hold-down firing today (click here to see the movie from their site). According to Elon:

We were very happy to be able to execute a flight countdown all the way to lighting the engine. Although there wasn’t a launch this time, we made a lot of progress refining the rocket and launch pad — all work that needed to be done anyway. I will post a longer update next week, after we have enough time to finish forensics of recent events and formulate next steps.

I’ve learned the hard way that trying to debug infrastructure that is a long way off from your shop can be a royal pain. I hope though, for their sakes, that they’re able to do a lot of rehersals between now and their next launch. It took us a lot of frustrating trips out to our remote test site where one problem or another with the test stand or test site infrastructure prevented us from testing before we got to the point where we are now.

Good job guys, and good luck!

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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2 Responses to Congrats SpaceX

  1. Paul Dietz says:

    It seems to me that Florida should be looking at this and setting up their space infrastructure so factories can be close to launch facilities, facilities that would have range safety and scheduling policies as friendly as possible.

  2. Jon Goff says:

    Paul,
    No kidding. It would help though if the site they were trying to sell as a commercial spaceport wasn’t a former air force base that they didn’t want to close that is only a few miles outside of Jacksonville. But providing the right incentives with range safety are critical. Right now, range safety has almost no incentive to allow a launch. While balancing the incentive to protect the public with the incentive to allow the industry to actually advance (and become safer by gaining experience in how to operate vehicles) is a tricky one, it’s one that’s going to need to be figured out.
    ~Jon

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