Why do I keep hearing news about rockets exploding, crashing, and generally not doing what is hoped for? I’m glad I’m not a rocket scientist right now.
Here’s the rundown of what I’ve seen:
August, 22, 2008
NASA tried to launch a couple hypersonic suborbital experiments. It didn’t go so well.
August 19, 2008
NASA tried out their new parachutes for the Orion crew vehicle (the one that will be going to the Moon soon). Um. Watch eighteen-million parachutes not deploy in this hilarious video. From what I can tell from the press release, the first parachute failed, and everything depended on that. The following parachutes failed because the lander wasn’t at the correct speed or in the correct position.
August 18, 2008
There’s no video of the Ares 1 tests that I can find, so here’s an old test (2006) instead.
And then there’s NASA’s Ares 1 Engine Tests. While not a failure, they’ve got some issues left to work out. Basically, due to the design, the rocket vibrates so much that people on board the Orion Crew Vehicle would probably not survive. They’re going to install shocks, and they’ve got years to figure this out.
August 2, 2008
SpaceX (a private commercial space company) tried to launch their Falcon 1 rocket for the third time. Basically the second stage doesn’t blast off enough faster than the first stage rocket was already going, so the stages do not separate. This is bad. This causes an explosion.
Launch takes place 4 minutes into the video.
July 28, 2008
The one thing that seems to be running as planned is Virgin Galactic‘s SpaceShip Two. On July 28 they unveiled the carrier for SpaceShip Two: White Knight Two. It’s named EVE.
I’m glad we are in the testing phase. In fact, I’m glad we HAVE a testing phase.
No people or animals were harmed in the making of this post.