The Morning Briefing: Rocket Week in America Was Pretty Cool and a Welcome Distraction

Top O’ the Briefing

Happy Friday, dear Kruiser Morning Briefing friends. Ayywaald enjoyed the look of disturbed awe in his visitors’ eyes when they first noticed that all of his walls were covered in his velvet paintings of Bobby Vinton. 

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We are going to finish on a quick, lighter note today and then run off into the weekend.

There won’t be a Mailbag of Magnificence today because the cupboard is pretty bare over there. I think that more of you should take advantage of the fact that I will answer almost any question. Let’s make it weird. I have all the faith in the world that we can do that. 

Before we get into the space travel fanboy stuff, I just wanted to point out, once again, that the Morning Briefing readers are, in fact, the best. When I went with “Rock Me Gently” for the video at the end yesterday I knew that I would catch some grief for it. However, after my friend and colleague Chris Queen posted the vid in Slack, saying that it wasn’t that Andy Kim, I just couldn’t resist.

When I hit the MB comments yesterday, not only were readers sounding off on their dislike of the song, but they were creating a list of unlovable earworms from over the years. 

Day. Made.

Morning Briefing regular Stoutcat mentioned “Seasons In the Sun,” a song about dying that’s so awful that one wishes he or she had died before hearing it. It gets my vote as THE WORST.  

On last Monday’s episode of “Five O’Clock Somewhere,” my friend Stephen Green and I were talking about how much we were looking forward to having not one, but two, rocket launches here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. this week. I’d dubbed it, “Rocket Week in America.” We are both big space buffs, and Stephen has written a lot about both of the spacecrafts that were launched this week. 

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When I led one of last week’s Briefings with a couple of Stephen’s stories about Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Starship, a reader commented something about us going deeper than just “Boeing bad, Musk good.” The thing is, though, that Boeing has been objectively bad for a while. 

On Monday, Stephen and I both said we hoped that would change soon. As far as we’re concerned, the more rocket launches, the better. 

It was exciting to see Starliner take off on Wednesday for the International Space Station. The crew did make it to the ISS, but not without some hiccups along the way, which prompted Mr. Green to once again wonder whether Starliner is cursed. The post provides an excellent breakdown of what went wrong with Starliner during the journey. 

There was better news on Thursday for the glorious beast that is the SpaceX Starship. 

Here is some of Stephen’s recap of the mission: 

The mission profile was to launch from Starbase in Texas, attempt de-boost and landing burns for Super Heavy (for a non-recoverable water landing in the Gulf of Mexico), while the Ship would enter space for a partial orbital flight before attempting a de-orbit burn and re-entry.

The goal of today’s Ship reentry was to not burn up. If they could manage to relight the engines for a landing burn in the Indian Ocean (not a recoverable landing!), that would be the icing on the world’s most extravagant cake. 

It. Was. Extraordinary. 

Yes. It. Was.

Honestly, I could kill hours watching this hulking rocket take off over and over. I was born and grew up during the Space Race, and my sense of wonder when any rocket leaves the launchpad hasn’t diminished one iota. Heck, I still hit YouTube to re-watch shuttle launches. Seeing the most powerful rocket ever to fly blast off is kid in a candy store stuff for me. 

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What is most exciting to me about all of this — even with Starliner’s troubles — is that the United States of America is once again ambitious about space. The space shuttle was a wonderful idea at first, but after a while it was obvious that it was the only idea. NASA became moribund and seemingly without direction. The reinvigoration of America’s space hopes and dreams is exciting, and it’s good to have something to be excited about these days. 

Starliner’s travel glitches notwithstanding, Rocket Week in America provided a nice distraction from news cycles that are valid excuses to hit the hard liquor for breakfast every day. 

We will return next week to our regularly scheduled examination of the inmates running the asylum. 

I hope everyone has a great weekend.

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The Mailbag of Magnificence contributions can be sent to [email protected].

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It’s the weekend. Let’s party. Hard. 

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