In this episode, Inna visits a rocket launch and reflects on learning from failure.
Navigating Boca Chica
So it’s been quite the week. Last Sunday, I decided that I was gonna fulfill a bucket list of mine, and I went to see the Starship on that was gonna take off out of Boca Chica. My other son decided to drive down with me, and we had the most amazing experience. Now, the punchline is I didn’t actually get to see the rocket take off, but it was just such an amazing experience. Plus I learned everything that one needs to do differently because we did it all wrong. So the first thing I learned is that you want to get a hotel in South Padre Island that is within walking distance of Ila Blanca State Park. Because you do not wanna deal with the parking situation there.
We basically got a hotel that was in the north end of South Padre Island, and we got up at four o’clock to get to the park. I think we got in at like five 15, maybe five 20, and we were one of the last cars to park there and we still had to walk probably a good half mile to the jetty, to the rocks. Um, but it was amazing.
Um, it was amazing to see so many people old, new from all walks of life, from, from all types of people just going there to see a rocket. Um, we set up right on the rocks and we got sprayed by the water, and in front of us was the slid up rocket and you could see the stars. It was, it was beautiful. Now, of course, on that particular Monday, the rocket, um, stopped. I think 10 minutes within 10 minutes of liftoff. And then all those thousands of people trudged back in their cars and they were probably a little hangry cause it was breakfast time, they hadn’t eaten. And there was no launch. So about a thousand people tried to find something to eat at South Padre, and that’s the second thing we learned is, uh, you have to bring food with you. You don’t wanna look for a breakfast place on South Padre that’s open at seven and can accommodate you and a thousand other Rocketeer enthusiasts. Um, We actually ended up parking the car back in the parking lot and then walking around looking for food, finally stumbled onto a Denny’s. Um, I think we were probably one of the many, many hundreds of people who were there, and they were brilliant and they served us.
Up Close to Rockets
And then, um, we decided to stay a couple of days, and this time we got a wonderful hotel within, um, walking distance because we thought at the time that the launch would be on Wednesday. Um, that’s what it said when we booked the hotel.
So what we did is the next day, We decided to drive out to Boca Chica and I heard that you can have access to the Rockets, but I didn’t realize just how much access you could have. I mean, this thing was right there. And what we did is a little bit outside of the State Beach there’s a great little Stripes gas station with an absolutely amazing taco place and we got lunch. And we went and took out our camping chairs and sat in front of the rocket on the, uh, on its launch pad and just ate lunch.
Falling for Rockets
And it was just the most beautiful view I could ever hope for. I mean, this rocket is absolutely beautiful. Um, the ceramic plating had this beautiful translucent to it. The booster was so proportionate, it was just, I, I fell in love. I fell in love with this rocket. Um, as much as one could fall in love with an inanimate object. And I was so sad because the whole point of this rocket was basically to lift off and, and see how far it could fly, and there was no hope of recovery. And to me, that was so sad that something so beautiful was built. And, and there was just, it was a basically, This beautiful piece of, of junk because that’s what it was gonna turn into.
Um, I couldn’t stay because, um, my family needed me to come home. So the next day on Wednesday, while everybody was driving in to see the rocket, we were driving to come home. And I have to tell you, I’m a little sad about that. It was a little hard for me to get over the fact that I wouldn’t see it in person. But, um, you know, sometimes, You have to put your family first and you have to count those wins.
One thing I did realize is that I’m gonna come again and I already told my family that I am a not coming home when I go next time until I see that rocket fly. Um, I did see it on YouTube like everybody else, and I have to say I cried and I, I was so excited that it cleared the platform and I know people said, well, you know, the rocket flew for a few hours and then it exploded and, and it didn’t do what it was supposed to do. But no, that mission was a success because it cleared the, the tower. And it was really interesting to me how SpaceX framed everything. They framed, they framed the aborted launch as something that was positive because they learned from it. And they said, you know, we don’t know what’s gonna happen with this rocket when it flies, but you know, we’re, we are considering a success just to have gotten here.
And I thought that was like the best framing possible, that they’re gonna do something, they’re gonna put it, their whole heart’s behind it, and they’re gonna make it go, and whatever information they get out of it is a successful thing. They’re not gonna be constrained by the naysayers and the boundaries. They’re just gonna go and see how far they can go. And how far they can reach. And they actually probably, even though the rocket, didn’t do what it was supposed to do, they, they exceeded their expectations. And that to me was amazing.
A Motto of Pushing Boundaries
And I think that is something that I want to let more people be aware of and, and kind of live our motto and make that into our motto because I think it’s so important that people just reach outside their comfort zones and do things that they didn’t know they could do and, and not count the fact that whether you do it or not success, but count the incremental steps. The fact that you took the risk, the fact that you took the chance, the fact that you learned something even though you weren’t successful. If those items could be considered successful, then that is a great way for, for people to push boundaries.
So, um, I, I’m really sad that that rocket is no more, and I’m really, really excited to go to see the next one. And I am going to use that motto of pushing boundaries and, and striving and, and having failure be okay because it’s not really failure, but it’s just a way of seeing how far we can push ourselves.
I think that’s really important to Stimpunks because that’s what we’re about. We’re not looking for the perfectly perfect outcome. We’re kind of looking for the, for the messy boundary that gets us a little bit closer to where we wanna end up, and it’s about the journey.
All right, well, it’s late and I’m going to bed, so good night now.