All Rocket Launches in December 2019!

All Rocket Launches in December 2019!


Hey Luke is here and welcome on kNews.space. Today: My Top 5 rocket launches in December
2019 that you should know about, not including fireworks. And of course a belated Happy New Year! December had some Falcons, Electrons, a lot
of China, some hops and even anomalies. Let’s check it out now on kNews! In chronological order first up was a SpaceX
Falcon 9 with an unmanned Dragon capsule up top. It was carrying supplies, hardware and some
Cubesats to the International Space Station! Most of these Cubesats were launched for NASA’s
ELaNa mission which stands for Educational Launch of Nanosatellites. Students get to design and work on these which
then end up being launched to space. How this works is Universities build these
and NASA selects a few of them. I’m not entirely sure how this selection process
works so if you happen to know let us know in the comments! What I do know is this mission goes beyond
borders because AztechSat 1 for example launched in cooperation with a Mexican University and
their Kerbal Space Agency. Just kidding, they have a real Space Agency
too! Fun fact: KSP and their space agency spawned
at roughly the same time in 2010. That make me wonder if that has been an inspiration
for the game as well? Could be but you’ll have to ask their former
lead developer Felipe who now works on a different game called Balsa Model Flight Simulator that
will launch into Early Access this year. Up next was an Electron rocket that launched
off New Zealand. It carried multiple secondary payloads along
the main one which is an artificial meteor shower. Yep, the satellite carries some kind of marbles
that it can shoot out of a barrel. Done right these marbles will reenter and
cause a small artificial meteor shower above the desired region. Seems a bit like a waste of resources but
I personally don’t judge anyone to launch fun payloads. In the end playing video games and watching
videos on a global scale consumes a lot of energy too and is not really productive either. I think a world that is just serious would
also be very boring. Besides that the money spent on these meteor
showers of course stays on the ground and is used to develop space hardware and pay
for the engineers. One downside that I don’t want to forget is
of course the possible light pollution at night. However, one could argue that artificial meteor
showers are also fun to watch like stars and could get more people excited about space. So I’m quite neutral on that. Launching on the same day was a Soyuz 2.1a
carrying Russia’s famous Progress spacecraft. It’s the cargo version of their crew vehicle
also named Soyuz. Like Dragon it was filled with supplies, hardware
and experiments for the ISS. According to Roscosmos via RussiaSpaceWeb.com
it also carried new parts for the ISS treadmill. That’s important because regular workout is
key for a healthy crew in space and I think we all know how badly that is needed just
after the holidays especially in space. Even sitting on the couch here on earth your
body has to constantly work to pump that blood against gravity from your feet all the way
back up. Not so in weightlessness. Your heart and other parts get a bit lazy
so to speak and returning back to earth – which is quite sudden – could lead to all sorts
of problems. Especially for untrained people that may visit
space as tourists in the future. An Astronaut’s heart is usually super fit
when they go to space which can act a little like a buffer. However, the topic is way more complex and
I don’t want to oversimplify it, since a too powerful heart can also lead to brain damage
by bursting blood vessels from overpressure in space. Space is hard not only when it comes to rocket
hardware. What is also hard is to launch two rockets
on the same day which China did! Two Kuaizhou 1A rockets which I count as one
because I covered them in one animation. This ICBM type rocket launches for the Chinese
company called ExPace. Up top these were multiple payloads that went
into a Sun synchronous polar orbit. Five are for earth observation meaning small
telescopes and two others are part of a communication system that is called the Apocalypse Constellation. The Chinese and their english names. What the name refers to are emergencies where
their constellation can assist ground crews with important communication links. Especially in the forest or very unpopulated
areas where it can otherwise be hard to get a good signal. It could maybe even benefit Tibet but that’s
just a guess. Before I come to the last entry for December
let me give an honorable mention to Blue Origin. Yup, Jeff was at it again with New Shepard. Their rocket did a suborbital hop and peaked
just above the Karman line at 104 km. On board were zero G experiments and no crew
this time. This may change for the next flight which
coming up in 2020 but I’m not sure if they squeeze more scientific launches in between
or not. Many people think New Shepard is a joke compared
to a Falcon but you have to keep in mind it runs on Hydrogen and their engine is actually
more efficient than SpaceX ones. Both Merlin and Raptor. Their orbital rocket New Glenn will use a
modified New Shepard as upper stage so I find it unfair to say that New Shepard does not
belong to an orbital rocket and is therefore inferior. Blue Origin just decided to develop their
upper stage first and establish a suborbital business with it. It’s basically their small Starship. Anyways, I’m not here to promote Blue Origin. I’m just confused by the hate of some against
them. And speaking of hate. Oof! The last rank in my top 5 for you is of course
the Atlas V rocket that carried Boeing’s beloved Starliner spaceship to space for the first
time. While Atlas V performed like a workhorse would
nominally, Boeing’s Starliner had another set back within just a couple weeks. The first one was an anomaly with their parachute
system on a launch abort test on ground back in November. Only 2 of 3 parachutes deployed which I agree
is kinda bad, but you have to keep in mind that this is only one of many many things
that can go wrong. So talking about what went wrong it is unfair
not to mention what went right. So the failure that occurred recently was
in orbit shortly after Atlas V released the capsule. You have to know that even modern rockets
are not controlled by some kind of AI that would understand what’s going on. It’s much simpler and probably more robust. There is simply some kind of timer that starts
one pre-programmed routine after another. Like for example rotating the spacecraft into
a particular direction, then firing the engines, deploying the solar panels, rotating to the
sun and so on. An AI would figure I need energy, I’m in vacuum,
I better deploy those silicon panels. Starliner’s timer was off relative to the
actual mission time so the events that happened were right, actually, and they were successful
in that regard believe it or not. But since they were not on schedule the outcome
was not expected and therefore wrong. It’s like brushing your teeth during lunch. So, Starliner essentially wasted a bunch of
fuel and NASA decided to abort the planned ISS rendezvous. However, since this was only a test, Starliner
was luckily not carrying any essential payload. Unless you consider Christmas candy essential
which I have to admit would be kind of a big deal for me. But yea, it was not a big deal for the taxpayer. Nothing was lost just to make that clear. There was no explosion, no destruction. Had astronauts been on board they would’ve
all been safe and to paraphrase the press conference: An astronaut is trained to spot
and deal with a situation like that. The mission had not been aborted early with
crew on board. So he mission ended a few days sooner than
planned with Starliner deorbiting and landing which then all went well. All parachutes opened. I know a lot of people make a big deal about
how NASA treats Boeing more nicely than SpaceX after an anomaly, but you also can#t just
ignore that SpaceX failures were a bit more energetic. SpaceX carried a fully loaded Dragon capsule
with important ISS hardware that exploded mid air. Everything was lost. Don’t forget about that. Dragon 2 also had an anomaly on ground which
made the capsule itself explode. Such a failure has never occured on a capsule
before. I think one should not compare NASA’s reactions
in these cases. They are different. These are just my 2 cents on it but let me
know your thoughts on it! Okay, that shall conclude my part in this
video but there were many more rockets that took off in December and for those who really
don’t want to miss any of them here is the rest in quick succession! Please let me know if it’s too quick or just
fine. Do you prefer to pause anyways? Also, if you like my work please consider
to become a Patreon or Member on YouTube and of course special thanks to the 16 people
who currently do. As always, auf Wiedersehen and Thank you for
watching.

7 thoughts on “All Rocket Launches in December 2019!

  1. Blue Origin is NOT using a modified New Shepard as the upper stage for New Glenn. In fact, though the upper stage will use two BE-3U engines, these are only loosely based on the BE-3 that powers the New Shepard. BE-3U uses an expander cycle while the parent BE-3 uses a tap-off cycle. I am sure the experience gained by New Shepard including hardware testing and launch process experience will be helpful, but other than parts off the engine, the upper stage of New Glenn is entirely new.

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