Last year I watched a lot of space launches. Space is interesting now because more rockets are going up as the price to launch comes down. There is a launch almost every week. More launches means more satellites, more people, and more stations in orbit, which is fun.. and since you have the internet you can watch!
Elon Musk’s SpaceX reached a massive milestone a year ago in landing an orbital rocket for the first time. Every rocket until now has been thrown away after launch. That makes it really expensive. Imagine if you threw out your bike or car or bus every time you used it – you wouldn’t go far would you? Apart from the cost, it would also mean you can’t get back.
SpaceX have already landed 6 rockets, and plan to start re-flying them from next month. Sometimes they land them on a ship in the ocean and sometimes they can land back at the launch site. They also want to start flying the Falcon 9 Heavy mid year, which is essentially 3 of their current rockets strapped together (and would mean an impressive 3 landings per launch). Aside from their technical audacity SpaceX also have the best quality webcasts.
You can add the schedule of Worldwide Space Launches to your calendar (follow the link then push the +Calendar button at the bottom). Today you will see that you missed the January 5th launch of a Chinese Long March 3B with a communications satellite, and the January 9th Chinese Kuaizhou-1A rocket with several small observation satellites. Tomorrow morning is SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch with 10 Iridium communications satellites, then later in the day Japan is launching SS-520 the smallest ever orbital rocket, with the TRICOM 1 earth observation satellite. Most calendar items have a webcast link so you can watch.
Photo at the top was taken by a robot on Mars late 2016 and shows Earth and its moon. You can see Antarctica, Australia, and Asia. Hopefully we have many more photos like this soon!
Will you be watching?