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Space Science

Mid-Atlantic Commercial Spaceport Makes First Launch 67

PeeAitchPee writes "East Coast residents of the US were treated to the first launch from the mid-Atlantic region's commercial spaceport. The 69-foot Minotaur I rocket soared from the launch pad at 7 a.m. ET, after teams spent the week resolving a glitch in software for one of the satellites that had scrubbed a liftoff on Monday. I witnessed the launch while driving to BWI airport this morning and it was beautiful! It left a zig-zag contrail in the southern sky and the separation / ignition of one of the upper stages was clearly visible." The spaceport, a commercial collaboration of Virginia and Maryland, is on the Delmarva peninsula south of the Maryland line, just west of Chincoteague Island.
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Mid-Atlantic Commercial Spaceport Makes First Launch

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16, 2006 @03:12PM (#17270562)
    I had pictured this as being in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Re:TSA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @03:40PM (#17270756)
    How much longer until the TSA implements the "Fifth Element" solution and forcibly sedates everybody on the plane?
  • by pnewhook ( 788591 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @04:04PM (#17270924)
    And the US Midwest is roughly in the center of the US and much of it is in the Eastern time zone. Americans have absolutely no sense of direction.
  • by mhollis ( 727905 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @04:11PM (#17270968) Journal

    The article states that the rocket used was cobbled together from unused military rockets. It also mentions that the area is depressed and is looking to bootstrap itself into economic health through this venture.

    I see a fleecing of the taxpayer going on here, as the rocket used came from the military (all ready paid for by the taxpayer -- though its refurbishment for use with a satellite might not have been. I see the land being acquired at taxpayer expense and I see the first launch being paid for by the military who could have saved the taxpayer money by launching from their own spaceport [] or NASA's.

    I do appreciate attempts to improve an area by building an industrial zone or a commercial zone to attract jobs and employ underemployed people in a particular locality but I don't see too many rocket scientists applying for unemployment compensation these days, and that is the kind of person a spaceport hires. Oh, yes, they'll need security personnel, ground maintenance personnel and construction workers to build the facility, but that's not the major thrust of a spaceport, and I'll just bet a military use for a spaceport would preclude the presence of a lot of civilians without security clearance..

    No, this looks like a fiscal boondoggle to me. And with the recent change in the membership of the US House of Repesentatives and Senate, one wonders whether or not anything else will ever launch from there. A "commercial" site that is wholly dependant on the military is not viable on its own

  • by mhollis ( 727905 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @05:26PM (#17271474) Journal

    This is land (and launch pads) leased from the Wallops Island [] facility. NASA has been launching stuff from there for decades.

    You are right, though it's my understanding that the land was actually purchased, along with rights-of-way enabling vehicular traffic to the now privatized (at taxpayer expense) launch area. But even if it is leased, it's a privatization paid for by the citizens of the area in order to boost employment, which is a kind of a boondoggle. This is another means of getting money from taxpayers.

    Lease (or purchase) land as a government (but local this time) agency, using taxpayer money.
    Create a government agency to "privately" launch satellites using taxpayer money.
    Hire the same people being used in the other government site next door because, after all, they're actual rocket scientists using taxpayer money.
    Buy something all ready purchased by the taxpayer from the taxpayers by using taxpayer money (a launch vehicle).
    Get a contract from a military agency that all ready has launch capability (not being used) by using taxpayer money.
    Do the launch by using taxpayer money.
    Put out a big PR marketing piece about the success of the launch by using taxpayer money.

    Do you see a trend here? Looks like the taxpayers just got boondoggled out of roughly double the amount of money it would have taken in order to just use Vandenburg -- or Wallops run by NASA or Cape Canaveral (which, as it is closer to the Equator is more efficient), also run by NASA. You have a "chase of taxpayer monies" to pay for stuff all ready created by the taxpayer monies, all to supposedly increase employment in an economically-depressed area.

    Frankly, I think just sending a check to the people in the area so that they might use the money to move out of the area would be cheaper.

  • Mmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ElMiguel ( 117685 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @06:38PM (#17271940)

    Haha. You totally pwned that kid. That'll teach him to trust you when he wants to learn something. </sarcasm>

    I'm sorry, but I've never understood the joy some people find in deceiving children who come to them with honest questions. Those kids want to learn the truth and you tell them a lie for your own amusement while pretending to help them.

    It's just like religion.

  • Re:Mmm (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 16, 2006 @10:06PM (#17273440)

    I'm sorry, but I've never understood the joy some people find in deceiving children who come to them with honest questions. Those kids want to learn the truth and you tell them a lie for your own amusement while pretending to help them.

    It's just like religion.
    It's the same sense of "joy" that leads to child molestation/rape, violations of the people's trust by coaches, pastors, cub/boy/girl scout leaders, teachers, businesses, governments ... and folks that would mod it "5, Funny". From the same folks that brought the planet "home invasion burglaries/killings" for the sake of "discovering new worlds ... (just a few "savages" running around not exploiting anything)"; snatching artifacts of those folks, sticking them in a museum and claiming that the reason they won't give them back is because "our security is better"; attempting to sell weapons that folks don't want and lobbying for covert operations to ensure that they eventually see that those weapons are needed; marketing products that require additional purchases to get them to do what they were purchased to do; marketing products that fall apart before their time to ensure future profits; marketing "upgrades" that ensure that all that old hardware/software that one has grown used to, and is still doing the job, no longer work; nay-saying naturopathies to ensure profitability of the psychopharmaceutical industry; requiring man-made chemicals to adapt to the environment that created them ... (uh, apartheid, japan "nuking", lynchings, deforestation, global warming, country music, raves ...)

    I do believe that I have found an understanding for this: evolutionary retardation. Having evolved in the north atlantic, deprived of the experience of the myriad diversity of Life/resources that renews every season, there appears to exist an inability/unwillingness to note the Life that is trashed to "develop the resources" to remake it all over in their(your) notion of "civilisation".

    Poor souls; it ain't about opening up a whole case of whup-ass on ya, it's about involuntary outpatient committment: you need remedial evolutionary treatment! (Sadly, of course, since it does appear as if the rest of Life on ThisEarth is getting a bit (or more) fed up with ya, it looks like y'all are bound and determined to carry your disorder onward to it's "logical" "scorched earth policy" conclusion while running off to bases/colonies on moons of this solar system, with your very own exclusionary "gene/cryogenic banks".)

    Somebody "out there" is bound to have been watching these developments for centuries and is just waiting to see if y'all are gonna carry your disorder beyond the boundaries of ThisEarth. They may not do anything as long as you stay in this solar system. But, I'd imagine, that if it looks as if you were gonna carry your BS beyond this solar system, somebody might "come on down" and disabuse you of your notions. Unfortunately, the rest of us will get caught up in the "disabusing" because "colorism" makes no more sense than "shape chauvinism"!!

    Anomalous Colored
  • Mid Atlantic? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Saturday December 16, 2006 @11:40PM (#17274060)
    Ye gads, that is so far from the mid-Atlantic, it isn't even funny.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27