Bad Astronomy

SpaceX wakes up some Texans

Texans got a bit of a surprise Saturday night when the folks at SpaceX did a major test of their 9-engine cluster At 10:30 p.m. local time, the nine Merlin engines roared into life for a full-up test lasting 178 seconds – nearly three minutes. The test shook houses and rattled windows for miles, burned up a half million pounds of propellant, and generated 855,000 pounds of thrust: enough to launch a pretty big rocket into orbit.

SpaceX has an awesome video of the test.

Also, the The Waco Trib has a great article on it, too. Well, it’s not the article so much as the comments which you simply have to read: they’re from locals who hung on for dear life while it happened. My favorite:

I live in Valley Mills, just taking the last steak off the grill. Space-X shook the T-Bone off the grill hit my dog on the head, he thought I smacked him, he bit my ankle. My wife just getting into our water bed shook up a huge wave, threw her out of bed. She blamed it all on me. Milk in now butter-milk, the cats,will not leave the kitchen. My son couldn’t hear his stereo, cranked it up, blew the windows out of the neighbors house. Guess I’ll be replacing them on Sunday. It was a great light show!

Evidently SpaceX notified some officials, but not everybody got the news. I can imagine being terrified of something like this happening even 25 miles away – it must have looked like Armageddon. I feel kinda bad for the local folks, but on the other hand SpaceX is pumping quite a bit of money into the area, so I hope they can forgive.

But I bet they won’t forget.

Image courtesy SpaceX.