After so many successful launches, it was particularly sad to see a SpaceX rocket blow up. That is what unfortunately happened yesterday about two and a half minutes after the Falcon 9 with the Dragon transporter on board had initially launched successfully, but shortly before the first stage separation something went catastrophically wrong and the rocket exploded in a huge cloud of smoke. This would have been the eighth successful launch of a Dragon transporter to the International Space Station by SpaceX and a complete failure is what nobody had really expected at this point. The video of the launch is actually hard to watch because it seemed like a picture-perfect liftoff in the beginning.
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This is another edition of my now regular articles about the crew changes on the International Space Station – this one comes a bit sooner than expected because there has been some slight reshuffling and delays of the crew rotation. After the failed launch of a Progress transporter at the end of April all plans were off, but soon after the situation somewhat stabilized and apart from an actually very welcome extension of Expedition 42/43 everything seems to be back on track now. Tomorrow three Astronauts will return to Earth after a surprisingly long stay of six and a half months, while their replacements will only arrive about six weeks later. As usual, I just like to keep an overview of who is up in space and I hope to continue these articles – the next one may be due in Autumn, but who knows what will happen next!
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A couple of days ago, we were still freezing out butts off and it was so cold at night that we had to turn on the heating – and now the first mini-heatwave of the year has arrived. The temperatures in the image are not exaggerated, the outside balcony thermometer even shows 32°C and compared to the barely over 20°C in the last few days, this is really warm. So don’t expect any major stuff from me, but I’ll be posting the usual round of photos and I even have an article over on DVDLog ready for the weekend I’ve totally forgotten about later this weekend.
I’ve also had a sort of computer meltdown in the last week when the harddrive of my work notebook began to die slowly. This is an old laptop with IDE interface, so getting replacements is very tricky and the 160GB drive I’ve been using for two years or so was already a used one given to me by a friend as a gift. Now I’m down to two 40GB drives, and that does not leave much harddrive space for photos and other stuff, which I now have to keep on the big computer. The downside in this kind of weather is that I don’t like to switch the computers any more than I have to and the smartphone and tablet are not really good for working on photos – but I have a big enough stash to last for at least two weeks to post anyway.
My plan is to get a slightly newer work notebook this fall – I’m eyeing a Thinkpad T60, which has the advantage that it already supports SATA drives, making the hardddrive situation much less problematic. This notebook is now already in the sub-€100 price range on eBay and I think it will be a nice replacement for my aging Compaq N610C.
I’m actually finishing this post with my tablet on the balcony and it’s actually quite nice with a bit of wind right now – have fun everyone with the nice weather (if you have it too)! :-)