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Astra test launch almost reaches orbit

The view from space on Astra's Rocket

UPDATE: The rocket came up slightly short of orbit. From Eric Berger:

Rocket was 0.5 km/s short of orbit. With a better fuel mixture in the upper stage it would have orbited. Apogee of 390km. Rocket 3.3 will carry a payload, and there will be no hardware or software changes.

Original post:
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Capitalism in space: According to the company’s Twitter feed, the second launch attempt today by Astra of its rocket appears to have reached orbit.

The images to the right were taken by their rocket, which is unimaginatively dubbed Rocket 3.2. I hope they now give this vehicle a more striking name.

If they have succeeded, they will have joined Rocket Lab as one of only two private commercial smallsat startups to launch a rocket to orbit. Two Chinese pseudo-private companies, Galactic Energy and ExSpace, have accomplished this, but I do not count them as real private companies. They might have worked independent of the government and raised investment capital, but nothing they do happens without close government supervision.

We will have to wait for full flight data from the company, but assuming they reached orbit that will be 40th American launch in 2020, the first time the U.S. has topped 40 launches in a single year since 1969, when the country achieved 46 successful orbital 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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