12 January 2012

Blown Away

Jack's only been working for SpaceX for a week and a half and already, there have been a handful of rocket test launches.  They can be tricky to catch--the engineers and technicians plan for them as best as they can but their actual launch time is rarely when they fire because of the innumerable problems that might occur.

Today we got lucky.

My phone was on vibrate but for some reason as I got ready while the girls played hide-and-seek in the cabinets, my unmistakable ringtone blasted from the living room.  Jack told me there was to be a test in half an hour and hurried me out the door.

We arrived with time to spare (thanks to a slight delay in the start).  We snapped a few shots of the tower--an incredibly expensive tripod built on a former navel base by a millionaire who thought it'd be fun to launch rockets.  Now in the hands of SpaceX, it's being put to good use.
The LOx cloud shooting through the pipes and out the bottom to keep everything nice and cool.
The first sign of the launch was chilling the pipes with liquid oxygen, basically so the pipes don't melt from the extreme heat.

Then, with little warning, the engine fired up.  Even sitting in the car, marveling at the phenomenon, we were practically blown away.  It was a single engine test but it roared through the air and rattled our ribcages.  Next month they're set to do all nine engines--that'll be the real show.
The enormous cloud produced by the fire eventually rained down and evaporated into thin air.  Evelyn made sure to let us know it was too loud and that it was "scaredy" even though the whole process took less than thirty seconds.  Still, it was worth the rushed half hour drive and slightly frazzled children to experience it.

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