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Falcon 9 successfully places 143 satellites into orbit

Capitalism in space: SpaceX this morning successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying a record 143 smallsats into orbit.

As I write this they are in the process of deploying the satellites, which will take time as the upper stage circles the Earth. This launch of 143 satellites beats the former record of the most satellites deployed on a single launch, 104, set by India in 2017.

The first stage landed successfully, completing its fifth flight. They also recovered both fairing halves.

The standings in the 2021 launch race:

3 SpaceX
1 Rocket Lab
1 Virgin Orbit
1 China

The U.S. now leads China 5 to 1 in the national rankings.

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.


  • eddie willers

    On Scott Adams’ podcast yesterday he said now that Trump is out of office, Elon Musk becomes the most interesting man in the world.

    He ain’t lying!

  • Clark Jerrell

    I’m heartened by the fact that, thus far, we’re doing to the ChiComms what we did to the Soviets during Gemini and Appollo: Outlaunch them by many multiples-to-one.

    Despite the slight veneer of capitalism that the CCP applies to its command-and-control economy, it would appear a fact of communism that they just can’t keep up with a more market-based economic model.

    OT: Just finished reading “Pioneer”. Mr. Zimmerman, I really wish you had more such riveting sci-fi for me to devour! I usually don’t much enjoy first-person fiction, but “Pioneer”, I’m happy to say, is a remarkable exception.

  • Clark Jerrell: Thank you for the kind words about Pioneer.

    Had any publisher or agent had been interested back in 1982 in helping me get published, history would have been very different. None were. Over time my writing focus shifted to non-fiction, because I found I could make money writing it without having to go through third parties (agents).

    Today those agents are gone, so the book is finally in print. Writing fiction however is not where my mind travels these days, though I do have several still unpublished fiction from years past that probably could be published today. I will consider doing that, when I have time.

  • geoffc

    Interestingly, the 10 Starlinks also launched are perhaps the first to have the Laser cross links! Woo Hoo! That is needed for the reduced latency. Good to see them showing up. Alas, seems to be missing on the first 1000 satellites, but there are 3400 more to go…

  • Rodney

    SpaceX seems to have the handle on polar launches from the Cape. More employment leaving California for Florida?

  • Sayomara

    Does anyone know why the first stage took so long to land today?

  • Sayomara: As far as I could see, it landed at about the same time as all other first stages, if not sooner. The timing might have been slightly different because this was a polar launch heading south from Florida, rather than east.

  • Jay

    SpaceX will be launching another 60 Starlink satellites this Saturday (01/30/2021).

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