Amidst all the turmoil of recent days it was stunning to watch the launch of the SpaceX Falcon9 mission. There was nothing particularly ground-breaking about it within the context of, say, Mercury, Gemini or Apollo….or was there? As a Tintin fan, I’ve always hankered after rockets that land vertically, thrusters down, but as a realist I just assumed that that would never happen.
Enter Stage 1, Falcon 9. Within minutes of the SpaceX launch, there it was, perfectly settling back onto its droneship as per the predictions of Prof. Calculus! And, if that wasn’t ‘t enough, look at which company played an integral part in the design and construction of that landing gear: Dan Gurney’s All American Racers (AAR)! This association has been a loosely-guarded NASA secret in recent years but now, I think, is the time to raise a glass to Dan, to his son Justin, who now runs AAR, and to everything for which Dan’s heritage now stands. As much as we might revere the applied technology of all the great F1 teams, what AAR have done with SpaceX literally places them in another world. And, for that, everyone in motor sport should be delighted. AAR might not build race cars any more – but they wouldn’t be the company they are if Dan Gurney hadn’t been the enquiring, imaginative, hard-working and very fast racing driver that he was. The Eagle has landed, I guess you could say….
That’s what this video is all about – that and Doug Hurley, one of the current SpaceX astronauts. Doug was at the USGP last year and loved every minute of it. He’s a Top aerospace/flying guy in the mould of a lot of other F1-loving NASA guys, including Dave Scott and Pete Conrad. So here’s to them all – to Dan and his family, to Doug and to the the team at AAR. Brilliant stuff.