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Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo just got done watching the yootube video of this afternoon’s successful launch of the Falcon Heavy from Cape Canaveral.

Mind status:  Blown.

Seriously, I am astounded by the take off and landing of the main rocket plus its two boosters.  I’m old enough to remember watching the later Apollo missions to the moon, and of course to follow all the shuttle missions, but (and here you may throw the cliché flag if you wish), this one seems like something right out of science fiction.

And that it’s a private company that is pioneering this stuff is doubly gratifying.  I know Elon Musk is getting all kinds of sweet, sweet gub’mint money, but a) he’s ponying up himself, too, and b) this kind of thing is definitely worth it.

Indeed, I’ve long thought that NASA ought to step out of the way and let private adventurers set forth on projects such as colonizing the moon, sending an expedition to Mars, and mining asteroids.  Seems to me that this is a significant step in that process.

Oh, and speaking of such things, today’s launch reminds me that I must be the only person on the planet who remembers a short-lived Andy Griffith teevee series from 1979 called “Salvage-1“.  In it, Griffith’s character develops a scheme and the technical know-how to send a rocket (called “Vulture-1” I believe) to the moon to pick up all the junk left behind by the Apollo program (which he intends to sell back on Earth at a tidy profit).  Even back then, at the tender age of 14, Ol’ Robbo found himself thinking that private enterprise was the way to go when it came to conquering the final frontier.

Finally, as you probably know, the payload sent up today was one of Musk’s Tesla Roadsters, with a manikin in a space suit at the wheel.  If you go to the video linked above, at one point you’ll see a shot of the car and driver.  On the dashboard is a small screen with the words “Don’t Panic” displayed on it.  I about fell out of my chair laughing.

** Spot the reference.  And I’ll be impressed as hell if you get it.


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February 2018