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Another successful Falcon 9 launch

The competition heats up: SpaceX has successfully completed its fifth Falcon 9 launch of the year, putting a Turkmenistan’s first communications satellite into orbit.

This was the 18th consecutive successful launch for the Falcon 9, and the 13th in a row for its upgraded design. Not bad for a company that did not even exist a little more than a decade ago.

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.


  • PeterF

    when does the booster come down? Will this be an attempt at a launchpad return?

  • The booster came down immediately, mere minutes after launch, crashing in the ocean. Because this mission was to put a heavier communications satellite in high geosynchronous orbit (24,000 miles high), not low Earth orbit, they needed all the first stage fuel for doing that. No attempt was made to land the first stage.

    Their next first stage landing attempt is likely to be in June, during the next Dragon launch.

  • Frank

    With every successful launch their dependability and reliability reputation grows. The engineering is solid, costs are low, and the new ideas are fun to watch, but their business will grow because they can be depended on to deliver payloads into space on schedule. This is how its done.

  • Matt in AZ

    I was fortunate enough to witness this launch, coinciding with my visit to KSC that Monday. I’ve been wanting to see such a thing since I was a little kid, and that’s sure taken care of! The following video was taken by someone nearby – it actually captures the sound of the launch rather well (especially if you crank the volume, lol).

  • You were very close. When I saw the next to last shuttle launch, we were much farther away.

  • Matt in AZ

    Looking at a map, it turns out I was further away from the filmer than I thought, with a 5.5-mile view at the Saturn-V exhibit. Still pretty awesome.

    There’s a lot of interesting things going on at KSC. One of the mobile launch pads has a tall Saturn-V-style tower mounted for the SLS (and perhaps other rockets?). Pad 39B is almost completely cleared of structures, with construction ongoing. Pad 39A still has its tower, with some shuttle-specific gear still visible, but now has a large horizontal hangar being built by SpaceX for the Falcon Heavy. It’s surprisingly close by to the pad, just outside its perimeter fence.

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