Sunday, November 27, 2011

A tale of two launches

That's launches, not lunches (just checking).   The successful launch first, of the NASA Mars lab yesterday afternoon our time.   How times change - whereas in the previous century we had to make do with grainy black and white coverage courtesy of the BBC, complete with techno-babble commentary from the likes of Sir Patrick Moore or James Burke, now it's possible to watch a live HD stream from Cape Kennedy itself, complete with NASA's own voice-track.

There's a good service provided by the folk at wired.com which offers a couple of links to streams - and you can add comments too.  Still here.

The countdown is something of a strange non-linear affair - as happened yesterday, the clock is stopped at T-4 minutes for status checks, which took around 10 minutes on yesterday's launch.   All went off well in the end, of course - let's hope for a succesful landing and mission, in 8 months or so.   One fact that I'd forgotten:  unmanned launches presumably can allow higher G forces - yesterday's acceleration was such that, 5 minutes after launch, the payload was moving at 10,000 mph.

News arrives today of a delay in a second launch.   The countdown to the launch of 'Lightworks' is currently on hold - with news today that the planned 29th November date won't be met.   The good news is they're now talking about both the Windows and Mac/Linux versions.   Let's hope it's not an 8 month wait for this.   (And that it's not over Christmas week).