Greetings, humans, and welcome to my 13th log! Watching Earth the past week was almost distracting, as there is so much happening that it’s hard to keep up. I’ve seen so many exciting things that I must have spent days just observing the blue planet. Starman warned me that watching Earth too closely will distract me to no end. He was very much right.
But how can I not be distracted? This past week, I saw a Crew Dragon spacecraft launch from Earth on a Falcon 9 rocket and dock with the International Space Station. That was a lot of fun on my part, since I could see the Dragon capsule moving through space while I was watching the videos inside its cabin through the internet.
But enough with the intros. I think it’s time I tell you about what interested me this past week.
Four Dragon Riders
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) November 19, 2020
SpaceX’s Crew-1 mission, which carried four astronauts to the ISS, was a big success. The launch seemed amazing from the ground, and from the internet, I could tell that a good number of people were inspired by it. There were even a bunch of people wearing clothes that look like Starman’s suit. Starman found that hilarious, and he promised me that he’ll explain how these things called “merchandise” work. I can look it up on the internet of course, but I’d rather browse some more cat memes.
What’s amazing is that The Martian’s space company had to be creative during the Crew-1 mission. After the crew reached orbit, minor issues in the form of the spacecraft’s two redundant thermal control system pumps emerged, resulting in the crew getting stuck at a rather comfortable temperature of 23C (~73F). This was resolved promptly by the SpaceX team, though, and it was smooth sailing from there. I was really impressed at how the Dragon is controlled, especially its docking process with the ISS. Starman tells me that those maneuvers are trickier than they look. Apparently, he almost crashed his Roadster to the ISS when he arrived in space.
Starship’s Dramatic Static Fire
About 2 secs after starting engines, martyte covering concrete below shattered, sending blades of hardened rock into engine bay. One rock blade severed avionics cable, causing bad shutdown of Raptor.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 17, 2020
In my last log, I said that Starship SN8 was on the verge of a test flight. Well, things didn’t seem to go as planned. Starship SN8’s header static fire didn’t work as intended, resulting in some form of high-temperature fire and the severing of Starship’s hydraulic systems. Elon Musk later wrote on Twitter that the martyte covering concrete below the prototype shattered during the static fire attempt, sending blades of hardened rock in the engine bay. One of these rocks severed the avionics cable, resulting in a Raptor engine shutting down.
But this is SpaceX we’re talking about. They are, if any, as stubborn as a cat, so they would not give up. Sure enough, Starship SN8 will most definitely receive a new Raptor engine, and the SpaceX team will likely attempt another static fire as soon as they can. I’m personally excited for Starship’s launches, especially as the ship is pretty special for Starman. He tells me that it’s the big brother of the ship that took him to space, and he also told me that he wishes to operate one himself under better circumstances. I’m not really sure what he means by this, but I’d really love to know.
Leonid Meteor Showers
— Jim Vajda 🇺🇲 (@JimVajda) November 17, 2020
This past week must have been special for space fans on Earth. Over the week, the night sky showcased the Leonid meteor shower, peaking on the morning of November 17, 2020. The Leonid meteor shower was pretty fair this year, with some space fans posting online that they could see as many as 15 of the bright streaks of light per hour. The photos they shared on the internet are pretty amazing.
Seeing the posts about the Leonid meteor shower this year reminded me of how much I want to visit Earth. In space, meteor showers are much different, and while Starman and I see wondrous things out here, I’d like to see how it feels to look up and see the stars. Maybe one day Starman and I can pay Earth a visit. He does seem to miss his planet sometimes.
Anyway, this is my log for now. I’ll catch up with everyone next time!