Sunday, August 25, 2013

There's LIGHT at the end of the tunnel!

It's a bit after 4am on Sunday, and I'm at work. And it's my LAST shift with the spacecraft! The graveyard shift is on their way home, and we the dayshift guys have the helm (a bit of Navy speak there). It's going to be a long quiet day as there's no major ops planned on our side, but that's's a nice way to end this LONG run of 4 months of crazy shifts. Yesterday was a BIG day as we reached a major milestone with the vehicle and it's preperation for launch. All is well...and as far as we know we are go for launch this coming Wednesday (HOORAY!) I won't be on shift here at the pad at all either Monday or Tuesday, and launch day only has one electrical guy on shift, so I'm thinking of taking the day off. I'm planning on taking my Mt bike down to the Gaviota area (on the coast, about 40 miles south of here), park the car, and find a good spot to watch the launch, then go for a nice ride after that...a GREAT way to end this long run of work. Next week we jump right into the next launch, but our part on that vehicle won't be very much...this particular vehicle is our 'bread and butter' program, and it's our last of that particular contract. Not sure where we will be in the future, but our contract with the Government (Air Force) is up for renewall/renegotiation in March 2014, and we are overstaffed for our future role, (whatever that is). There's been a trend these last 6 years where some of our work is funneled off to another group, and each successive launch we've done has had a bit more taken away. For this particular launch we didn't have nearly the work we did back on my first campaign back in 2005...back then we owned the pad so to speak, and we did almost everything. So come next year, there will be layoffs or certainly job shifts/reassignments,, but I'm pretty sure that I'm safe. For us electrical types we don't have enough of's the mechanical  guys who should be (and are, I can assure you) worried. Also some of the managers...we seem to have WAY too many of  those (isn't that the way it always is?) Anyway, enough on that.

The US Pro Challenge (aka the Tour of Colorado) is over, and I haven't seen a lick of it. I finally broke down yesterday (during my long 12 hr Saturday shift, during a moment of quiet) and peeked at Velo News. I have all the stages recorded on the DVR, but not sure when I'll get a chance to watch them...or even if I will's always rather unsatisfying to watch a race that's history, especially if you know the outcome. The Vuelta is also underway...and I doubt very much that I'll see any of that either...that's always one of the races that I 'watch' via Velo News. Really hoping Chris Horner can pull off some magic and get a high GC placement...but the cards are stacked against him...he's got some fierce YOUNG guys between him and the podium for sure.

Not much else to talk about for now...I'll have some pics to post of our launch...prob put those up maybe Wednesday evening. Keep your fingers crossed...this is a very important launch for US (and by US I mean the U.S). We've all got some tax dollars sitting here on the pad...these are extremely expensive expensive that it's totally worth it to use THREE expendable rockets to get it up into orbit. Bad things happen in the spacelaunch biz, but not this time. We are going for gold...and that's the only medal that counts. If you feel so inclined you can follow the launch (and likely even watch live online video) at have already posted the launch time as 10:52am pacific time, Wednesday the 28th. They will have the mission link up giving you written progress reports many hours before the launch as the rocket is fueled and readied for launch.

Here is the link to the Mission Status page (save you the trouble of finding it):

This is exciting stuff! SO much can go wrong, but there is an army of people dedicated to not letting any of that happen. I can't even begin to describe the ga-zillions of man-hours involved in a launch campaign...starting with the factories that build the rockets and spacecraft (that takes years), and then transporting both to the pad, and prepping them for their journey. It's just a HUMONGOUS undertaking. Keep your fingers crossed, I sure will (sure, we've done the work to the best of our abilities, but still a little luck is always a good thing).

Have a GREAT week, and be safe out there!

Here's to a successful launch...CHEERS!


  1. And the stage winner and new leader of the Vuelta on Monday is Chris Horner!! He became the oldest rider to ever win a stage in a grand tour - former record was 41 years, 2 months - Redneck is 41 years, 10 months. And he doesn't have a contract for next year - well, maybe he does now!! I was leaving for the airport in Denver when my phone started blowing up with news and quotes of the win. After checking in at the airport and going through security I found an electrical plug, sat on the floor and wrote the press release for the win. Way to go Horner!!

  2. Matt, I can hear your rocket going off and see the trail in the sky!

  3. Just missed the video of the launch. Congratulations to you and all your peers!

    And, HOO-RAY for Horner! still just 3 sec out of 1st place, hope he can hang in there!


  4. Hey Matt! Congrats on your success! You are lucky to have found your way into such a rewarding career field. It must be a truly powerful feeling when you see that bird fly.

    Gaviota! It just slays me to read about all my old stompin' grounds. I'm sure that you are familiar with the movie "Sideways." One of these days...

    Also, I agree with all the Horner sentiments. A working class hero is something to be...