The Purple Pinup Guru Platform

When purple things are pulsating on your mind, I'm the one whose clock you want to clean. Aiding is Sparky, the Astral Plane Zen Pup Dog from his mountain stronghold on the Northernmost Island of the Happy Ninja Island chain, this blog will also act as a journal to my wacky antics at an entertainment company and the progress of my self published comic book, The Deposit Man which only appears when I damn well feel like it. Real Soon Now.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Sparky: Why we wait for news of the Guru and his Union

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Aya Ueto

Aya Ueto (?? ? Ueto Aya, born September 14, 1985 in Nerima, Tokyo, Japan) is a Japanese actress, idol, and singer.
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In 1997, Aya Ueto participated in the 7th All-Japan National Young Beauty contest, where she received a special award from the judges. Her discovery led to many TV commercial deals, which would eventually start her acting career.

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In 1999, she formed the J-pop band Z-1 with Mami Nejiki, Mai Fujiya, and Manami Nishiwaki. They released five singles before breaking up, but Aya went on to start a solo career when she signed with Pony Canyon two years later. She released her first single, "Pureness," in 2002. Since then, she has released several more singles and three albums.

Meanwhile, Aya began her acting career in 2000 with a role in Namida wo Fuite. In 2001, she played a part in 3 Nen B Gumi Kinpachi Sensei, and her performance greatly boosted her popularity. She starred in several later dramas, including Koukou Kyoushi 2003, Hitonatsu no Papa e, and Aim for the Ace!. She also starred in Ryuhei Kitamura's blockbuster Azumi and in its sequel, Azumi 2: Death or Love.

She is often said to physically resemble Japanese star Momoe Yamaguchi. As of 2005, she remains ubiquitous in Japan, appearing constantly on magazines and in commercials.


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Debut album "AYAUETO"


  • Pureness (2002)
  • kizuna (2002)
  • Hello (2003)
  • Kanshou/MERMAID (2003)
  • Binetsu (2003)
  • Ai no tameni. (2004)
  • Kaze/Okuru kotoba (2004)
  • Afuresou na ai, daite/Namida wo fuite (2004)
  • Usotsuki (2004)
  • Yume no chikara (2005)
  • Kaze wo ukete (2005)
  • Egao no mama de (2006)


  • AYAUETO (2003)
  • MESSAGE (2004)
  • Re. (2004)
  • UETOAYAMIX (2005)
  • License (2006)


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Poster of JVC K?shien high school baseball tournament 2001

  • Namida wo Fuite (2000)
  • Yome wa mitsuboshi(2001)
  • 3 Nen B Gumi Kinpachi Sensei (2001)
  • Wataru seken wa oni bakari (2002)
  • My Little Chef (2002)
  • Koukou Kyoushi 2003 (2003)
  • Hitonatsu no Papa e (2003)
  • Satoukibi bakate no uta (2003)
  • Aim for the Ace! (2004)
  • Yoshitsune (2005)
  • Attack No.1 (2005)
  • Nada sousou~kono ai ni ikite~ (2005)
  • Tsubasa no oreta tenshitachi (2006)
  • Attention Please (2006)


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  • <>Azumi
  • The Killers of Paraiso (1999) – as Hikari, leading character
  • Return to Never Land (2002) – as Jane's Japanese voice actress
  • Azumi (2003) – as Azumi, leading character
  • Install (2004) – as Asako Nozawa, leading character
  • Azumi 2: Death or Love (2005) – as Azumi, leading character
  • Ashita Genki ni na~re! (2005) – as Kayoko's voice actress


  • Rogue Galaxy (2005) – Voice actress

External links

Maybe some politics later - Sparks

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sparky: Tom DeLay makes News again...

An ass and his lawyer ... (courtesy of CBS)

Tom DeLay Wants Gun License Back

“Rep. Tom DeLay is fighting to regain his concealed handgun permit after it was suspended because of his indictment on felony charges.

A justice of the peace suspended DeLay's license in January after the former majority leader was indicted last year. A judge dismissed a conspiracy charge, but DeLay still faces a felony charge of money laundering.

Under state law, the Texas Department of Public Safety can suspend a handgun license if its holder has been charged with certain misdemeanors or higher. ...”
©MMVI, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Some Delay Highlights —

Terri Schiavo

Main article: Terri Schiavo

DeLay made headlines for his role in the Terri Schiavo controversy. On Palm Sunday weekend in March 2005, several days after the brain-damaged Florida woman's feeding tube was disconnected for the third time, DeLay and other House members met in emergency session to pass a bill allowing Schiavo's parents to petition the removal of the feeding tube to a federal judge. DeLay called the removal of the feeding tube "an act of barbarism." DeLay faced accusations of hypocrisy from critics when the Los Angeles Times revealed that he had consented to ending the life support for his own father, who was in a comatose state because of a debilitating accident in 1988. [1]

DeLay was accused of stirring up controversy in the wake of a series of high-profile violent crimes and death threats against judges when he said that "the men responsible [for Terri Schiavo's death] will have to answer to their behavior." DeLay's comments came soon after the February 28, 2005 homicide of the mother and husband of Chicago Judge Joan Lefkow, and the March 11, 2005 killing of Atlanta Judge Rowland Barnes. DeLay's opponents accused him of rationalizing violence against judges when their decisions were unpopular with the public. Ralph Neas, President of the liberal People for the American Way, said that DeLay's comments were "irresponsible and could be seen by some as justifying inexcusable conduct against our courts." [2] DeLay publicly apologized for the remark after being accused of threatening the Supreme Court.

In May 2005, the hit NBC television drama Law & Order: Criminal Intent used DeLay's name in a negative way. On the show, Detective Alexandra Eames, investigating homicides of several judges, said, "Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-Shirt." The show was apparently referring to the comments DeLay made about Supreme Court justices during the Terri Schiavo controversy. DeLay responded by writing to Jeff Zucker, president of Universal Television Group: "This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse." The producer of the show, Dick Wolf, replied that "these shows are works of fiction." Wolf also commented, "But I do congratulate Congressman DeLay for switching the spotlight from his own problems to an episode of a television show." [3]

Cuban cigar photograph

DeLay has long been a strong critic of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and a supporter of the trade embargo against Cuba. In April 2005, Time Magazine published a photo from a July 2003 trip to Israel. In the photo, DeLay is seen smoking a Cuban cigar. [4] The consumption or purchase of Cuban cigars is illegal in the United States, but legal in Israel. At the time, smoking a Cuban cigar abroad was legal for U.S. citizens. Since September 2004, the U.S. Treasury Department's enforcement of the law has been toughened to forbid consumption or purchase of Cuban cigars by U.S. citizens anywhere in the world. [5]

Jack Abramoff

Main article: Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal

DeLay has received gifts from Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, including paid golfing holidays to Scotland, concert tickets, and the use of Abramoff's private skyboxes for fundraisers. Abramoff has since pleaded guilty to federal charges in an influence-peddling investigation. Scumbag Robert Novak reports that Jack Abramoff "has no derogatory information about former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and is not implicating him as part of his plea bargain with federal prosecutors."[6]

The Associated Press reported on April 7, 2005:

DeLay's political action committee did not reimburse lobbyist Jack Abramoff for the May 2000 use of the skybox, instead treating it as a type of donation that didn't have to be disclosed to election regulators at the time.

The skybox donation, valued at thousands of dollars, came just three weeks before DeLay accepted a trip to Europe, including golf with Abramoff at the world-famous St Andrews course for himself, his wife and aides that was underwritten by some of the lobbyist's clients.

Two months after the concert and trip, DeLay voted against gambling legislation opposed by some of Abramoff's Indian tribe clients. [7]

DeLay may be one of the targets of the Justice Department investigation into Abramoff's actions. Abramoff referred clients to the Alexander Strategy Group, the lobbying firm for which Christine DeLay worked from 1998 to 2002, allegedly in exchange for political favors from her husband. [8]

On January 10, 2006, The Associated Press reported that in 2001, DeLay co-signed a letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft calling for the closure of a casino owned by the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas. Two weeks earlier, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, one of Abramoff's clients, had donated $1,000 to DeLay's Texans for a Republican Majority PAC (TRMPAC). [9] Currently, and at the time of the letter, casinos or other private gambling establishments are illegal in Texas, even on Indian reservations. [10] In fact, the U.S. law, Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas Restoration Act in 1987 [42], which reinstated the rights of the Alabama-Coushatta and other Texas tribes has a specific section denying those tribes the right to violate Texas gaming law. [11]

Northern Mariana Island legislation

According to ABC's 20/20 television program, Abramoff lobbied DeLay to stop legislation banning sex shops and sweatshops that force employees to have abortions in the Northern Mariana Islands when Abramoff accompanied DeLay on a 1997 trip to the commonwealth. While on the trip, DeLay promised not to put the bill on the legislative calendar.

In 2000, Frank Murkowski, a conservative Republican senator from Alaska, compelled the U.S. Senate to unanimously pass the Murkowski worker reform bill to extend the protection of U.S. labor and minimum-wage laws to the workers in the U.S. territory of the Northern Marianas. DeLay, then the House Republican Whip, stopped the House from even considering Murkowski's bill. [12]

DeLay later blocked a fact-finding mission planned by Representative Peter Hoekstra by threatening Hoekstra with the loss of his subcommittee chairmanship. [13]

Accusations of misconduct in Texas fundraising and indictments

Main article: Tom DeLay corruption investigation

In the reapportionment following the 1990 census, Texas Democrats drew what Republican political analyst Michael Barone argued was the most effective partisan gerrymander in the country. The Democrats won 70 percent of the Texas congressional seats in 1992, the first year in which the new districts were in effect, while taking half of the total number of votes cast for Congress statewide. After the 2000 census, Republicans sought to redraw the district lines to support a GOP majority in the congressional delegation while Democrats desired to retain a plan similar to the existing lines. The two parties reached an impasse in the Texas Legislature, where Republicans controlled the Senate and Democrats controlled the House. As a result the new district lines were drawn by a three judge federal court panel that made as few changes as possible while adding the two new seats.

In 2001 the Texas Legislative Redistricting Board (a panel composed of the state's Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller, Speaker of the House, Attorney-General, and Land Commissioner) redrew state legislative districts in accordance with the census. The new map that was adopted by the Republican-dominated board gave the GOP an edge in winning the Texas House of Representatives, still controlled at that time by the Democrats. During the 2002 elections under these new maps, DeLay aggressively fundraised for Republican candidates under TRMPAC. It has since been alleged that TRMPAC was used to funnel illegal corporate donations into the campaigns of Republican candidates for State Representative.

The GOP victories in 2002 resulted in their control of the Texas House in addition to the Senate. As a result, the Texas Legislature was called into session in 2003 to redistrict the state's congressional lines in favor of the Republican Party. A number of Democrats left the state, going to Oklahoma, and later New Mexico, to deny a quorum for voting, but they eventually returned, and the legislation passed.

On May 26, 2005, a Texas judge ruled that a committee formed by DeLay had violated state law by not disclosing over $600,000 worth of fundraising money, mostly from the credit card industry, including $25,000 from Sears, Roebuck & Co. [14], and $50,000 from Diversified Collections Services of San Leandro, California. [15] Five Texas congressional seats changed hands from Democrats to Republicans during the 2004 elections, in part because of the new redistricting. [16]

On September 30, 2004, the House Ethics Committee unanimously admonished DeLay because he "offered to endorse Representative [Nick] Smith's son in exchange for Representative Smith's vote in favor of the Medicare bill." [17]

On October 6, 2004, the House Ethics Committee unanimously admonished DeLay on two counts. The first count stated that DeLay "created the appearance that donors were being provided with special access to Representative DeLay regarding the then-pending energy legislation." The second count said that DeLay "used federal resources in a political issue" by asking the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Department of Justice to help track Texas legislators during the battle over Texas redistricting. [18] At the time of the latter admonishment, the House Ethics committee deferred action on another count related to fundraising while that matter was subject to state criminal action. That state investigation eventually led to the felony indictment on September 28, 2005.

In 2005, the Federal Elections Commission audited ARMPAC, DeLay's political action committee. The FEC found that ARMPAC had failed to report $322,306 in debts owed to vendors, and that it had incorrectly paid for some committee expenses using funds from an account designated for non-federal elections. The FEC also found that ARMPAC had misstated the balances of its receipts and ending cash-on-hand for 2001, and of its receipts, disbursements, and beginning and ending cash-on-hand for 2002. ARMPAC corrected the omission of the debts in amended reports, and is reviewing the portion of the audit dealing with incorrect payment for expenses. [19]

Grand jury indictments

On September 8, 2005, a federal grand jury indicted Texans for a Republican Majority, which allegedly accepted an illegal political contribution of $100,000 from the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, and the Texas Association of Business on four indictments, including charges of unlawful political advertising, unlawful contributions to a political committee and unlawful expenditures such as those to a graphics company and political candidates. [20]

On September 13, 2005, a federal grand jury indicted ARMPAC's executive director Jim Ellis and TRMPAC's former executive director John Colyandro, who already faced charges of money laundering in the case, as well as 13 counts of unlawful acceptance of a corporate political contribution. [21]

On September 28, 2005, a Travis County grand jury operating under Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle indicted DeLay for conspiring to violate Texas state election law stemming from issues dealing with his involvement in Texans for a Republican Majority. Texas law prohibits corporate contributions in state legislative races. The indictment charged that Texans for a Republican Majority accepted corporate contributions, laundered the money through the Republican National Committee, and directed it to favored Republican candidates in Texas. DeLay had waived his rights under the statutes of limitations, which had expired in the summer of 2005.

On September 30, 2005, in response to a motion to dismiss his initial indictment, Earle sought a second indictment of DeLay from a second grand jury. That jury refused to indict. Contrary to normal Texas procedure, a "no bill" document was not publicly released, and no public announcement was made regarding the result until after Earle had presented evidence to a third grand jury and obtained an indictment.

On October 3, 2005, a Monday, Earle sought and received a new indictment of DeLay from a third grand jury in Austin on charges of conspiracy and money laundering. The maximum sentence for money laundering under Texas law is a life sentence. The next day, in a written statement, Earle publicly admitted "that prosecutors presented their case to three grand juries — not just the two they had discussed — and one grand jury refused to indict DeLay. When questions arose about whether the state's conspiracy statute applied to the first indictment returned last Wednesday, prosecutors presented a new money-laundering charge to (a) second grand jury on Friday because the term of the initial grand jury had expired. Lawyers for DeLay immediately called foul after Earle released his statement after 5 p.m. Tuesday." [22]

On October 7, 2005, DeLay's attorneys filed a motion in court to have the latest indictment thrown out, charging that Earle coerced the grand jury and illegally discussed grand jury information and encouraged others to do the same. [23]

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Tom DeLay's mug shot (Harris County
Sheriff's Department, October 20, 2005)

On October 19, 2005, a Texas court issued a warrant for DeLay's arrest, setting initial bail at US $10,000. DeLay surrendered at the Harris County, Texas jail the next day, was booked, was photographed, was fingerprinted, and posted a $10,000 bond. He appeared in court on October 21, 2005. [24]

On November 1, 2005 DeLay prevailed in a motion to remove assigned Travis County judge Bob Perkins from the case. Perkins had donated to Democratic candidates and organizations, including DeLay's attorneys argued Perkins could not be publicly perceived as impartial under the circumstances. DeLay is also attempting to have the venue changed from Democratic-leaning Travis County.

On November 3, 2005 Pat Priest, a "semi-retired" judge, was chosen to preside over the case. Priest is also a Democrat. [25] On November 22, 2005 DeLay filed a motion to dismiss the charges against him. [26] On December 5, 2005 Judge Priest dismissed one count (conspiracy to violate election law), but let stand two counts alleging money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. [27].

Indictments of associates

DeLay's indictment occurred along with that of two associates, John Colyandro, TRMPAC's former executive director, and Jim Ellis, who was the head of ARMPAC at the time. The charges were brought before the grand jury by Earle.

Joe Turner, who represents Colyandro, has said that he does not want a jury trial in Austin, because he believes that "DeLay and Republicans are hated [there]". [27]

The indictment charges that DeLay, Colyandro and Ellis conspired to pass corporate contributions to candidates for the Texas legislature in violation of Texas campaign finance law. Allegedly, several corporations made contributions to TRMPAC. The indictment charged that TRMPAC then sent a check for $190,000 to the Republican National Committee, made payable to "RNSEC" (the Republican National State Elections Committee), along with a list of state-level Republican candidates who should receive the money. According to the indictment, the Republican candidates in Texas did in fact receive the money so designated. [28]

The indictment was issued by a grand jury of Texas citizens. Grand jury foreman William Gibson said that there were "stacks and stacks" of evidence and, "As far as we're concerned, they presented us enough evidence and witnesses that we felt we were on the right track. I would not have put my name on that grand-jury indictment unless I felt we had ample probable cause." [30]

Gibson told KLBJ Radio in an interview that he had made up his mind to indict DeLay before he heard the grand jury evidence, because he did not like DeLay's newspaper ads from the Texas Business Association. (audio and transcript)

Earle's investigation of DeLay is the subject of an upcoming documentary, which was filmed with Earle's cooperation over the past two years, before DeLay was notified of the charges. [31] [32] [33]

Terry Nelson was named in the money laundering indictment against DeLay, though he was not charged. Nelson was the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee in 2002. Nelson went on to become George W. Bush's national political director in 2004. On March 20, 2006, Senator John McCain appointed Nelson to be a senior advisor to his political committee, the Straight Talk America PAC. [34]

Reaction to indictments

DeLay blasted the charges as a "sham" and an act of "political retribution," perpetuated by his opponents. He added, "I have done nothing wrong, I have violated no law, no regulation, no rule of the House." [35]

Earle, a Democrat, has indicted both Democratic and Republican office-holders in Texas, including an unsuccessful 1993 investigation of Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on charges of official misconduct and records tampering. DeLay and his attorney, Dick DeGeurin, have said that Earle has a history of indicting his political enemies.

Because of Republican party rules regarding leadership and indictments, DeLay stepped down from his position as House Majority Leader, while he retains his seat representing Texas' 22nd congressional district. White House spokesman Scott McClellan commented by saying that President Bush still viewed DeLay as "a good ally, a leader who we have worked closely with to get things done for the American people." On January 7, 2006, DeLay announced that he would not seek to return to his position as Majority Leader.

DeLay's lawyers have asserted that there are various problems with the indictments. On October 3, 2005, DeLay's lawyers filed a motion to get the indictment of conspiracy to violate election law thrown out as fraudulent, claiming it was a violation of the U.S. Constitution's ban on ex-post facto applications of law. DeLay's lawyers claim that, in 2002, the crime of conspiracy did not apply to Texas election law. However, George Dix, a professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin, believes that charges of criminal conspiracy could legally be applied to any felony (including violation of election law) committed prior to the 2003 law, and characterized the 2003 change cited by DeLay's lawyers as a clarification of existing law, stating "It isn't unheard of — the Legislature passing a law to make clear what the law is." [36]

While the Texas Penal Code defines laundered money only as money gained as the "proceeds of criminal activity," DeLay's lawyers maintain the corporate donations came from normal and legal business activity. Stuart Roy, a GOP consultant and former DeLay aide, criticized the second charge, saying, "Ronnie Earle may truly be the Elmer Fudd of politics."

Texas Penal Code Chapter 34:02 [37]

§ 34.02. MONEY LAUNDERING. (a) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly

(1) acquires or maintains an interest in, receives, conceals, possesses, transfers, or transports the proceeds of criminal activity

(2) conducts, supervises, or facilitates a transaction involving the proceeds of criminal activity; or

(3) invests, expends, or receives, or offers to invest, expend, or receive, the proceeds of criminal activity or funds that the person believes are the proceeds of criminal activity.

Later, when two liberal groups planned to air a 30 second political advertisement about DeLay, he threatened to sue any television stations that aired the ad. As news of this began to surface, liberal bloggers called DeLay's move an attempt to coerce the media. [38]

Can't someone put a stake in this asshole and end his career as a Political Vampire? Why won't Cheney take him hunting along with W? - Sparks

Monday, March 27, 2006


My pal Elon has had a setback -

Mishap destroys SpaceX Falcon 1 after maiden launch

March 24, 2006
The Falcon 1 rocket, launched by SpaceX, was destroyed shortly after its maiden launch today. Despite an earlier highly successful static test firing off the main engines, this fourth attempt at launch failed during the first stage burn. After clearing the tower, an onboard webcam revealed a swirl of flame around the base of the rocket before contact was lost. Both the Falcon 1 launcher and its Falconsat payload were lost.

It was later revealed that a fire had cut a helium pneumatic line causing the safety valves in the fuel system to automatically close, shutting down the main engine. The cause of the fire and the fuel leak that fed it has yet to be determined.

Falcon 1
Length 21.3 m (70 ft)
Diameter 1.7 m (5.5 ft)
Mass 27,200 kg
(60,000 pounds)
Stages 2
Stage 1
Engines 1 Merlin
Thrust 343 kN
(77,000 lbf)
2.6 kN·s/kg
(255 s (sea level))
Burn time 169 s
Propellant RP-1/LOX
Stage 2
Engines 1 Kestrel
Thrust f 31 kN
(7,000 lb)
3.2 kN·s/kg
(327 s (vacuum))
Burn time 552 s
propellant RP-1/LOX
200 km, 28° 670 kg (1480 lb)
400 km, 51°
580 kg (1280 lb)
700 km
(Sun synchronous)
430 kg (950 lb)

The Falcon 1 is a semi-reusable launch vehicle, designed and manufactured by SpaceX to provide commercial launch-to-space services. The two-stage-to-orbit rocket uses Lox/RP-1 for both stages, the first powered by a single Merlin engine and the second powered by a single Kestrel engine.

It is the world's first privately funded and developed liquid-fuelled orbital launch vehicle, and is currently priced at US$6.7 million.


The Falcon 1 is designed to minimize price per launch for low-Earth-orbit satellites. It is also intended to verify components and structural design concepts that will be reused in the Falcon 5. The first stage returns by parachute to a water landing and is recovered for reuse, while the second stage is not reusable.

First-stage view of the Merlin engine.

First stage

The first stage is made from friction-stir-welded aluminum alloy. It employs a common bulkhead between the LOX and RP-1 tanks, as well as flight pressure stabilization. It can be transported safely without pressurization (like the heavier Delta II isogrid design) but gains additional strength when pressurized for flight (like the Atlas II, which cannot be transported unpressurized). The resulting design has the highest mass fraction of any current first stage. The parachute system, built by Irvin Para­chute Corp­oration, uses a high-speed drogue chute and a main chute.

Until SpaceX gains experience with reusing the first stage, the quoted price presupposes that no reuse of the first stage is taking place. If and when the recycling process is perfected, the launch price may be expected to drop.

Second stage

The second stage tanks are built with a cryogenic-compatible aluminum–lithium alloy. The helium pressurization system pumps propellant to the engine, supplies pressurized gas for the attitude control thrusters, and is used for zero-g propellant accumulation prior to engine restart. The pressure tanks are made by Arde corporation and are the same as those used in the Delta IV. They consist of an inconel shell wrapped by a composite.

Launch sequence

Launch sequence (maiden flight example);
time scale is in seconds.

The main engine is ignited and throttled to full power while the launcher is restrained and all systems are verified by the flight computer. If the systems are operating correctly, the rocket is released and clears the tower in about seven seconds. First-stage burn lasts about 2:49 minutes. Stage separation is accomplished with explosive bolts and a pneumatically actuated pusher system. See the launch sequence timeline below for more details.

Launch sites

The Falcon 1 can be launched from five different sites, with the maiden flight scheduled for Kwajalein and the second flight scheduled for Vandenberg.

First flight failure

The Merlin engine on fire during launch of the first Falcon 1 flight.
The Merlin engine on fire during launch of the first Falcon 1 flight.

The date for the maiden flight of the Falcon 1 had been postponed several times for a number of reasons, including engine problems and being forced by Vandenberg to change launch locations due to delays in the launch of a Titan IV rocket. The maiden flight was planned for Saturday, 26 November 2005, from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands carrying a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency payload, but was postponed until mid-December. The payload was the United States Air Force Academy’s FalconSAT–2, which would have measured space plasma phenomena.

During the launch attempt of 19 December 2005, a faulty valve caused a vacuum condition in the first stage, which got sucked inward and was therefore structurally damaged. A decision was made to replace the first stage for this launch and repair the damaged stage for later reuse.

The new target date for the launch was set for 10 February 2006 with a static firing countdown rehearsal scheduled for the day before. However, project managers were unsatisfied with the results of that test and decided to lower the vehicle for closer inspection. Launch on the maiden flight took place on Saturday 25 March 2006 at 09:30 local time (22:30 UTC, Friday 24 March 2006).

The vehicle had a noticeable rolling motion, as shown on the video before the feed was lost, rocking back and forth a bit, and then at T+26 seconds rapidly pitched over. The rocket impacted the ocean, apparently on its side, at about T+41 seconds.

The first official statement from Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX read:

"We had a successful liftoff and Falcon made it well clear of the launch pad, but unfortunately the vehicle was lost later in the first stage burn. More information will be posted once we have had time to analyze the problem."

On March 24, Space X's website for the official maiden voyage of Falcon 1 said, "Early insights from investigators examining Friday's failed launch of the first SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket suggest a fuel leak triggered a fire that ultimately brought down the booster", the company's founder said today.

The launch vehicle crashed onto a dead reef located about 250 feet from the launch site. During the impact the FalconSAT–2 payload separated from the booster, was thrown high into the air, and then crashed through the roof of a machining room on the island. Reports of damage to the payload range from slight to significant.[1]

While Musk said in November 2005 that he would not be deterred by the failure of the first launch attempt, he added "if we have three significant failures, then we probably don't know what we are doing. I question whether anyone would want to launch on us if we had three significant failures... We would probably exit the business." [2]

Further missions

The second mission is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying a Naval Research Laboratory Tacsat and a Space Services Incorporated space burial payload (which will include remains of James Doohan, Gordon Cooper, and others). This was intended to be the original maiden flight, but delays in a Titan IV launch from the Vandenberg complex had a knock-on effect to SpaceX.

Launch log

Date & Time Flight Payload Result
24 March 2006 at 22:30 UTC
(25 March 09:30 local)
1 FalconSat–2 Failure at T+25 seconds
loss of vehicle; payload recovered

See also


  1. ?Someone's looking out for that satellite...”, Kwajalein Atoll and Rockets, 25 March 2006.
  2. ?Launch could lead to new age of tourism”, San Francisco Chronicle, 25 Nov 2005.

External links


Type Private
Founded 2002
Location El Segundo, California
Key people Elon Musk: CEO and CTO
Industry Aerospace
Products Orbital rocket launch
Revenue unknown
Employees 160

The Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) is a space-transportation startup company whose stated goal is to improve the cost and reliability of access to space "ultimately by a factor of ten". It is based in El Segundo, California.

SpaceX is developing a family of mostly reusable two-stage keroseneliquid-oxygen launch vehicles. The Falcon 1 is designed with a reusable lower stage, while the larger Falcon 5 and Falcon 9 will be the world's first fully reusable launchers and have multiple first-stage engines.


SpaceX was founded in June 2002 by CEO/CTO Elon Musk, who had also co-founded startup companies Zip2 and PayPal, and who so far has invested in SpaceX about $100,000,000 of the fortune he gained through the sales of his two previous companies. Although Musk has stated that he could financially handle a couple of early-launch failures, he also has said "If we have three consecutive failures […] it's not clear to me that we know what we're doing and maybe we should go out of business."

As of November 2005, the company has approximately 160 employees.[1] The launch crew in the Marshall Islands comprises 25 persons, with 6 in mission control. This small number of employees, when compared to other companies that produce similarly sized rockets, is part of the cost reduction that Musk is trying to achieve. He sees other rocket manufacturers as providing space-launch services at an unreasonably high price to support an unnecessary bureaucracy.

Launcher versions

For comparison:

Version Falcon 1 Falcon 5 Falcon 9 Falcon 9 Falcon 9-S5 Falcon 9-S9
Stage 0 2 boosters with 5 × Merlins each 2 boosters with 9 × Merlins each
Stage 1 1 × Merlin 5 × Merlin 9 × Merlin 9 × Merlin 9 × Merlin 9 × Merlin
Stage 2 1 × Kestrel 1 × Merlin 1 × Merlin 1 × Merlin 1 × Merlin 1 × Merlin
(max; m)
21.3 47 47 53 53 53
1.7 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.6
Initial thrust
318 1,890 3,400 3,400 ? ?
Takeoff weight
27.2 154.5 ? 290 ? ?
Fairing diameter
(Inner; m)
1.5 3.6 3.6 5.2 5.2 5.2
(LEO; kg)
570 4,100 9,300 8,700 16,500 24,750
(GTO; kg)
1,050 3,400 3,100 6,400 9,650
(Mil. USD)
6.7 18 27 35 51 78
11,754 4,390 2,903 4,023 3,091 3,152
17,143 7,941 11,290 7,969 8,083
Success ratio


Falcon 1 was developed and launched first.

Maiden flight

The first Falcon 1 at Space Launch Complex—Three West (SLC-3W), Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The maiden launch of the Falcon 1s occurred on 24 March 2006, at 22:30 UTC (09:30 local time, 25 March), from Omelek Island, in the Kwajalein Atoll. After 29 seconds of flight, the main engine failed, leading to loss of the vehicle soon thereafter. An investigation of the cause of the propulsion failure is underway. High-resolution photography of the launch shows the engine on fire during ascent.

The company provided a live webcast of the flight from various launchpad cameras, with mission-control voiceover. The webcast showed water-dump, ignition, and pad liftoff. The view switched to an onboard camera, with the atoll clearly receding in the background. About 40 seconds into the flight, the webcast ceased.

The 19.5-kilogram (43-pound) United States DARPA payload FalconSAT-2 was built by United States Air Force Academy cadets to investigate the phenomenon known as "space weather", or plasma in the upper atmosphere. The planned orbit was 450 kilometers (280 miles).

The Falcon 1 maiden flight was originally scheduled for 1:00 P.M. PST (4:00 P.M. EST, 9:00 P.M. GMT) on March 24. An unplanned hold of about 90 minutes occurred because a ship tasked with recovery of the first stage was in a restricted down-range zone.

On March 17 and March 22, before the maiden flight, two static firings were performed in order to validate the rocket hardware and launch procedures.

On November 26, 2005, a launch attempt was postponed ("scrubbed") because of weather and ground-related holds. On December 19, 2005, a second scrub occurred when a faulty valve caused the first-stage kerosene tank to deform during an unfueling maneuver. Subsequently, the launch tower was redesigned to reduce liquid-oxygen boil-off and to avoid wind-related holds. On February 10, 2006, further static testing led to a delay for an unspecified cause.

See also Ariane 5 Flight 501 for comparison.

Upcoming launches

The second Falcon 1 launch will loft a Naval Research Laboratory Optical Sciences Division Tacsat payload from Vandenberg Air Force Base's Pad 3W. This launch was originally scheduled for early 2006, but presumably will be postponed several months, according to This flight was originally scheduled to carry a secondary payload, arranged through Texas-based Space Services, Inc.: memorial capsules containing the cremated remains of 187 persons, including Project Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper and Star Trek actor James Doohan.

The maiden launch of the Falcon 9 is scheduled for late 2007, with a U.S. government payload, followed by a launch, in the first quarter of 2008, with a payload of a Bigelow Aerospace Genesis Pathfinder expandable space-station module[1].

On May 2, 2005, SpaceX announced that it had been awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract for Responsive Small Spacelift (RSS) launch services by the United States Air Force, which could allow the Air Force to purchase up to $100,000,000 worth of launches from the company. [2]

Future development

Manned orbital spaceflight: SpaceX Dragon

Main article: SpaceX Dragon

The SpaceX Dragon is a conventional blunt-cone ballistic capsule spacecraft, capable of carrying 7 people or a mixture of personnel and cargo, to and from low Earth orbit. The nosecone of the vehicle has a hinged cap which opens to reveal a standard ISS Common Berthing Mechanism, which allows the Dragon to dock to the US segment of the ISS. The capsule is being developed by SpaceX, a space transportation startup company.

The Dragon capsule will be launched atop a Falcon 9 vehicle. SpaceX has built a full-sized prototype of the vehicle and "thoroughly tested" its life support system. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has stated that he plans to have the capsule enter service by 2009.

The vehicle is part of a proposal submitted on March 3, 2006 for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program for commercially delivering cargo and crew to the International Space Station. SpaceX's team for the COTS proposal consists of a number of companies, including MD Robotics, a Canadian company which built the International Space Station's Mobile Servicing System, a robotic arm with a mobile re-attachable base. They intend to use the robotic arm to simplify docking with the space station.

While currently focused on the launch of unmanned spacecraft, SpaceX has announced that it plans to pursue a manned commercial space program through the end of the decade. [2] SpaceX seeks to win America's Space Prize, which will award $50,000,000 to the first US company that launches at least 5 astronauts on a privately financed and developed reusable spacecraft to low Earth orbit twice within 60 days before 10 January 2010. The company has also expressed an interest in competing for crew and cargo resupply contracts to the International Space Station (ISS) under the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.

More details of the manned program were released on March 6, 2006.[3] The SpaceX Dragon is a conventional blunt-cone ballistic capsule, capable of carrying 7 persons or a mixture of personnel and cargo, to and from low Earth orbit. The nosecone of the vehicle has a hinged cap, which opens to reveal a standard ISS Common Berthing Mechanism, which allows the Dragon to dock to the U.S. segment of the ISS.

The Dragon capsule will be launched atop a Falcon 9 vehicle.

Heavy lift launchers

On September 8, 2005, SpaceX announced the development of the Falcon 9, an upgrade to the Falcon 5, which would have nine Merlin engines in its first stage.[4][5] The design is an EELV-class vehicle, intended to compete with the Delta IV and the Atlas V rockets. As in the Falcon 5, all stages will be designed to be reusable. The configuration of Falcon 5 has been changed, so that it is now a downscaled Falcon 9 with five Merlin engines in its first stage and not completely fueled tanks. According to the SpaceX updates webpage, the company has been working on the test stand for the Falcon 9, called the BFTS. This test stand will need to provide for the 350-metric-tons-force (3.4-meganewtons) of thrust that the 9 Merlin 1Bs are capable of delivering. The test stand has been built to withstand 1500 metric-tons-force (15 meganewtons) of thrust.

Additionally, SpaceX has announced plans for the development of the Merlin 2 engine, a scale version of a larger F-1-class engine to be developed in the future. The company is rumored to be working on a very large rocket to accompany the F-1-class engine, known as the BFR.[6] In the past, Musk has said "Long?term plans call for development of a heavy?lift product and even a super-heavy, if there is customer demand. We expect that each size increase would result in a meaningful decrease in cost per pound to orbit. For example, dollar cost per pound to orbit dropped from $4,000 to $1,300 [$8,800/kg to $2,900/kg] between Falcon 1 and Falcon 5. Ultimately, I believe $500 per pound [$1,100/kg] or less is very achievable." On other occasions, Musk has stated that he expects to be able to offer a price of $1,000 per kilogram by 2010.

Satellite systems

In January 2005, SpaceX bought a 10% stake in Surrey Satellite Technology, Ltd.

External links

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Sparky wants this to work ASAP.