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Another successful Dragon/Falcon 9 launch

The competition heats up: SpaceX has successfully launched another Dragon freighter to ISS.

We await word on whether the first stage was able to successfully land vertically on a barge in the Atlantic.

Update: Musk reports that the first stage landed on the barge but “too hard for survival.” Expect some interesting video to follow. I have posted SpaceX’s video of the launch below the fold. Beginning at about 22:45, after first stage separation, you can see it maintain a vertical orientation as it begins its descent.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • BSJ

    I still don’t believe they’ll ever be able to get all four leg to make contact at exactly the same moment. One hits first, and it’ll pitch over…

  • mivenho

    It’s apparently more difficult to achieve this feat than Elon thought it would be. We’ll know more once the video becomes available. In any case, my bet is that he’ll tweak the system and try again. Perhaps he should avoid speculating about the odds of success and just let things play out, however. Congrats to SpaceX on a successful launch.

  • “It’s apparently more difficult to achieve this feat than Elon thought it would be.”

    You are wrong. Musk understood from day one how difficult this would be, and stated so repeatedly. He also stated repeatedly that he would not be surprised if it takes a dozen attempts before they succeed. That they have come so close on the first two landing attempts is remarkable, but it is in line with Musk’s initial predictions.

  • PeterF

    looks to me like the barge is just too small of a target. If this had come down in the great salt flats it would have been tom swift perfect.

  • Robert

    Maybe Musk needs some inverted thinking for the present – soften the barge target to make the landing softer. Maybe something pillow-like soft that will almost envelope the object and cushion landing, letting it lay down horizontally as it reaches target.

    The right type of material, like those tough blow-up space habitats, with air pushing though it like a bouncy house and regulated for pressure etc. Sometimes a simple, lower-tech seemingly simple method on the other end of the problem pays big dividends.

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