Note: I wrote this on my earlier blog hosted as http://parallelspirals.blogspot.com. I recovered the text from the WayBack Machine. This post appeared on December 10, 2010 as per the time stamp. I’m trying to collect here again all my old writings spread on various blogs.
I have not added any information on two huge publicity events, the launch of SpaceX’s Falcon-9 with Dragon and the Venus orbital injection failure of Akatsuki. This is because there has been plenty of good coverage on each subject in the blogosphere that I will only be happy to link to.
Daniel Fischer’s Cosmic Mirror has a link bunch on Akatsuki with news and blog stories. Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society blog has the best coverage on the subject – here, here and here (in reverse chronology). There was a rather long pause before the failure became apparent. There was a huge rush on twitter and elsewhere to learn of what had happened to the spacecraft. Emily had made use of twitter’s Japanese users to translate into English some of the information which was released in Japanese first. JAXA, Japan’s space agency will now carefully check the spacecraft health and thrusters before deciding what they plan to do with the spacecraft and whether it will survive the 6 years before it is in a position to try Venus orbit injection again.
Below is the video posted to YouTube by Emily Lakdawalla on how Akatsuki would meet Venus again after 6 years:
As the news of Akatsuki’s failed orbit injection spread through the English-speaking world, SpaceX began preparations for its launch. William Pomerantz on The Launch Pad does the best blog on this subject here. The launch is seen below:
This one was strange. The first launch aborted while I was about to board the bus after the talk at Nehru Planetarium. The launch occured when I got off at the bus stop near my home. The P-POD release announcement came after my dinner and SPLASHDOWN! of the Dragon capsule in the Pacific was when I was ready to go to sleep. Odd timing!