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A detailed update on the Falcon 9 return-to-flight

Link here. It appears that SpaceX hopes to complete the following launches in quick order::

1. November 24: First Falcon 9 upgrade launch: 11 Orbcomm low-orbit satellites
2. December 15: Last old Falcon 9 launch: Jason 3
3. December 27: Second Falcon 9 upgrade launch: SES-9 geosynchronous communications satellite
4. Early January: Third Falcon 9 upgrade launch: Dragon and the Bigelow BEAM inflatable module to ISS

All these dates are of course subject to delays. Launches 1 and 3 will definitely attempt vertical landings of the first stage on a barge.

The main point of the article above was to note that the SpaceX is now ready to do a full thrust test firing of the first stage that will be used in the November 24 launch, doing that test at its McGregor, Texas, test facility. As noted, “All Falcon stages pass through the Texas site, allowing them to be fired up and tested for any issues prior to continuing their journey to the launch site.” The article then described one case where the testing successfully spotted an issue that was fixed prior to launch.

I think this speaks volumes about the robustness of SpaceX’s manufacturing process. Their rockets are built in one place, shipped to another for testing, and then shipped to a third for launch. And all within mere weeks. This robustness also suggests that the rocket’s first stage will be able to withstand its vertical landing and be able to be reused, as planned.

The article also provides some further insights in why the company switched the SES-9 and Orbcomm launches.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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