Critical Section


space-ing out

Tuesday,  01/07/20  10:01 PM

Greetings SpaceX aficionados, more X-cellent news to report.

First, yesterday SpaceX launched another 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. 

Is it weird that we are sort of taking this for granted now?  There are now 180 of these birds, destined for “low” orbit of 550km.  (For comparison, a geostationary satellite orbits at 35,000km.)  At this altitude the typical latency experienced with communication satellites is significantly mitigated, with round trip latencies on the order of 50ms.  Perfect for telemedicine!

SpaceX’ goal is to blanket the Earth, creating a new means of communication.  And they seem well on their way.


 

We have liftoff!

(click to watch a video snip)

I never get tired of watching these launches.  So very cool.


 

Stage one lands on droneship – awesome – while stage 2 burns further into orbit.

(click for video snippet)

For those keeping track, this is the 48th successful landing of a stage one booster by SpaceX.  Seems like they’re getting the hang of this reusability thing.


 

And a bit later, poof, 60 count ‘em 60 satellites are deployed successfully into orbit.

(click for snippet)

Seems like they’ve improved the camera location and quality to capture the satellite deployments, too.
 

So that would be pretty exciting all by itself, but meanwhile, up at the ISS Space Station, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft was preparing to return to Earth today, carrying about 3,800 pounds of science and supplies back.

The Dragon will likely be the next US spacecraft to take people back and forth to the ISS; the US has relied on Russian spacecraft to do so since the last Space Shuttle mission in July 2011.  Yes that’s right although it’s pretty hard to believe.


 

Successful departure confirmed at 05:05ET this morning!  The Dragon was released from the ISS and executed three departure burns to head back to Earth.

(click for snippet)


 

Dragon splashed down into the Pacific Ocean at 09:30ET.  Woo hoo!


 

As long as I’m space-ing out, some more interesting news:NASA astronaut’s blood clot in space gets treated by doctor on Earth.  The subhead is “There are no emergency rooms in space”.

Sounds like yet another great use case for telehealth!


 

Cheers, and space out

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