The Astronaut Musk

SpaceX has made history. Its privately developed rocket has made it into space.

After three failed launches, the company founded by Elon Musk worked all of the bugs out of their Falcon 1 launch vehicles.

The entire spectacle was broadcast live from Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific. Cameras mounted on the spacecraft showed our planet shrinking in the distance and the empty first stage engine falling back to Earth.

As the rocket ascended, cheers rang out during every crucial step of the launch sequence, and at the final stage their headquarters in Hawthorne, California erupted in excitement. ( viewed the launch over the Internet on SpaceX’s live webcast.)

The tensest moment came just before stage separation. At that critical juncture, the third launch attempt had failed. This time, it worked out perfectly.

Eight minutes after leaving the ground, Falcon 1 reached a speed of 5200 meters per second and passed above the International Space Station.

“I don’t know what to say… because my mind is just blown,” said Musk, during a brief address to his staff after the successful launch. “This is just the first step of many.”

SpaceX Did It — Falcon 1 Made it to Space | Wired Science from

Here’s the video of the launch.  It’s pretty spectacular.  I especially liked watching it in fast-motion after the rocket left the atmosphere (and the oxygen that burns so brightly).

The title of this post is a reference to the movie “The Astronaut Farmer” (the pun being his name is “Farmer”), which I happened to watch this morning, after seeing this story this weekend.  In that movie a former almost-astronaut dedicates his life to going into space.

In the movie, this obsession almost costs him his wife, his ranch, and his life.  And because it’s a movie, things mostly work out in the end (after the requisite film-drama).   A decent movie, overall, what I thought it did well in particular was illustrate the strains that obsession with an outlandish personal goal can bring to a family.   Why am I talking about this movie, and this aspect of it in relation to the story about a geek-gone-rich then goes-to-space?

Because that same journey wasn’t without personal cost…..

yes, divorce

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Sep. 13th, 2008 | 09:28 am


I am getting divorced. We had a good run. We married young, took it as far as we could and now it is over. That’s about all I can say for now, other than that it was a very sad and very necessary decision.

To be clear here, I have no personal knowledge of the events leading to the post involving the former Mrs. Musk, nor do I know that it was “el otra mujer” that led to the breakup.   I was just struck by both the sameness and the difference between the real world we all actually live in, and the fake one that hopes to inspire real world dreams.