Saturday, July 04, 2009

At Liberty (Fires in the Sky)

Three of us took off a bit before sundown to have a little dinner and enjoy some harbor sights and maybe catch a fireworks show we had heard rumors about.

The guy above declined to come with us. He was busy reviewing operations at the dock.

Mischa and Jenna

One of them cleverly brought coffee.

An old favorite bridge. We steamed out under it. This is near my home.

Ever wonder what happens to all that metal you recycle? At some point it probably ends up in a pile like this, waiting to be transported overseas.

For many satellite orbits, you can get the satellite into place with less rocket fuel if you launch near the equator. For this reason, Boeing and some other folks partnered up to form Sea Launch, which launches rockets from the Pacific Ocean. Most of the time it has worked fine. Sea Launch’s home port is in Long Beach.

The control ship is nearest to us in this picture. The floating launch platform is next to it. In the video linked above, you see the platform as it looks on duty, when it’s mostly submerged. (Believe it or not, damage to the floating platform in that incident was minimal.)

Our fire boat escort to the Queen Mary. Behind it, over the Palos Verdes Peninsula, you see what some people would call a blimp. It’s not a blimp in this case; it’s a dirigible. And it’s not just any dirigible, as it turns out: It’s a Zeppelin, made by the same folks who ran into a glitch in 1937 when landing in Lakehurst, New Jersey. That event made for some interesting album covers, but it set back the commercial development of passenger airships by a few decades.

Fortunately, today you can once again take a pleasure ride in one of these behemoths. This one is normally stationed at Moffett Field in Northern California, last home base of the airship Macon, which met its own untimely end in 1935, a couple of years after the loss of her sister ship, the Akron. (The Macon was christened by the wife of Mr. Moffett himself.)

This particular airship came to Southern California for the weekend, and after it finished checking out the sunset, it came back over us and hung around for the fireworks show.

The moon is illuminated here by the setting sun. Technically the sun isn’t burning; it’s undergoing a process of thermonuclear fusion, with plasma running all over and much turmoil. One way or another, it throws out a lot of lumens.

By sundown we were at anchor adjacent to the Queen Mary.

All the fire we saw in the sky was deliberate and safe. No disasters were reported.


Papa Bradstein said...

Nice. Looks like a splendid night was had by all.

Kangamoo said...

Of course he could not go with you, he looks like a crane operator and has a lot to do.

Is that Mischa like from your college days? Hi Mischa!!

Interesting ties to all things that should be flying but instead are burning up...

Fun fireworks show.

CaliforniaGirl said...

I see you found the shiny things down there.

I would not want to be up in the dirigible when someone is shooting fireworks.