Though no details have been released, DARPA revealed yesterday that two experimental cubesats being prepared for launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 were damaged when the payload separation system was accidently activated.
As these were military satellites not much information was revealed by DARPA, and SpaceX made no comment.
Such things do happen rarely, but for SpaceX it is still an embarrassment and a problem. They will certainly have to figure out how this could have happened by accident, and make sure it does not happen again.
Who pays the cost for repair or replacement (more likely) is a tangled question, and will be buried in the launch contracts between DARPA and SpaceX.
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.
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