Today’s Tidbits: February 13, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: February 13, 2018

Here are our tidbits for February 13, 2018:  second time’s a charm for Progress MS-08; a SpaceX-ULA space race with hat eating as the bet;  SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell is Satellite Executive of the Year. Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Second Time’s a Charm for Progress MS-08

Russia’s International Space Station cargo ship Progress MS-08 successfully lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 3:13 am EST this morning, two days later than planned.  During the first attempt, an electrical connector did not retract in the last seconds of the countdown, a problem also encountered with the launch of Progress MS-07 last year.  Russian space expert Anatoly Zak of said Roscosmos took the extra precaution of getting a new avionics unit from another batch even though they had a spare one at the launch site.

It worked!  The liftoff was at 11:13 am local time under a bright blue sky and kicked up a lot of snow as shown in this photo released by Russia Space Corporation Energia, which designed and built the rocket.

Liftoff of Russia’s Progress MS-08 ISS cargo ship from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Feb. 13, 2018. Credit: RSC Energia.

SpaceX-ULA Space Race Means Someone Will be Eating a Hat

During his press conference following the Falcon Heavy launch last week, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk talked about how that success might spur other countries and companies to reach for new heights.  They would be competitors to SpaceX, but that’s OK.   “We want a space race.  Races are exciting.”

He now has one.

During an exchange on Twitter, Musk said that he would “eat my hat with a side of mustard” if the United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) new Vulcan rocket with a Centaur upper stage launched a national security payload before 2023.  ULA President Tory Bruno joined the conversation with a single word — “Wow.”  Others chimed in asking if Bruno was accepting the challenge and he said “yes.”  The exchange continued, with suggestions as to what hats should be eaten.  It all seems to be in good fun, but serious at the same time.  For example, Musk asserted that the cost of a ULA Delta IV Heavy launch is $600 million.  Bruno corrected him that it’s $350 million.  Follow the thread: @elonmusk and @torybruno.  It’s too long to reproduce, but here’s a sample.

Gwynne Shotwell is Via Satellite’s Satellite Executive of the Year

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell. Credit: Shotwell’s LinkedIn page.

SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell has been selected by Via Satellite for its prestigious 2017 Satellite Executive of the Year award.  Via Satellite Editorial Director Mark Holmes praised Shotwell’s “immense skill navigating SpaceX to new heights working alongside Elon Musk in one of the most formidable partnerships in our industry.” Shotwell is a “role model to many” and “one of the most brave, skilled executives in our industry and her performance in 2017 made her a unanimous choice” for the award.

The award will be presented during the Satellite 2018 conference at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on March 14 (the conference itself is March 12-15).

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