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.
 

First Block 5 1st stage reflight

Capitalism in space: It appears that SpaceX is planning to do its first reflight of a used Block 5 booster on August 4.

This will be SpaceX’s third Falcon 9 Block 5 launch in less than two weeks if the schedule holds. More important than the schedule, perhaps, is the fact that it would appear that SpaceX intends to reuse the first Block 5 booster (B1046) for this particular launch. To lay out the foundation of this claim, it’s known that SpaceX’s CCAFS Pad 40 integration facilities are only capable of fitting one booster and the strongback (transporter/erector/launcher, TEL) at a time, evidenced both by sourced comments and views inside the hangar.

Meanwhile, an unmistakeable Block 5 booster – with black interstage and octaweb coverings – was spotted being transported through Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) earlier this week, just after Falcon 9 B1047 launched (July 21 EDT) and freed up space for another booster inside the horizontal integration facility (HIF) at Pad 40. Given that only one Block 5 booster has been recovered on the East Coast and that B1047 was still out at sea earlier this week, the sooty booster traveling through CCAFS thus has to have been B1046, and it was making a beeline for LC-40.

SpaceX is once again demonstrating why they have taken over the global launch industry. They are proving that they will be able to routinely reuse a relatively small number of first stage boosters, frequently, and cheaply.

CORRECTION: I initially wrote this post under the mistaken impression that the booster being reflown was going to do so after only fourteen days. This was wrong. The booster was flown two months ago, in May.

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7 comments

  • Tracey H

    Please consider footnoting ur narrative with not only (1) the sources of ur content but (2) also including a definition list of words and acronyms listed or mentioned. Thank u very much.

  • geoffc

    Also, the 14 day turnaround is really more about the ASDS being ready for a second landing in 14 days, since B1047 launched and landed, but it is B1046 from May that would be relaunched. So the core itself is more like almost 2 months and change. Still pretty good. But B1045 will have been a tighter reuse, but hey, still 100% better than every other commercial or national booster in current flight to orbit. And it is only going to get better.

  • Kirk

    Bob, your “[first launched on July 21]” (for B1046) should be “[first launched on May 11]”. (Correction offered in good faith and in appreciation of your continued coverage our present-day space efforts.)

    Tracey H, Bob provided an inline link to an article which he then quoted from, which itself gave parenthetical expansions of the acronyms CCAFS, TEL, & HIF, only leaving you on your own to figure out EDT (Eastern Daylight Time, aka UTC-4) and LC-40 (CCAFS Launch Complex 40 — also described as “Pad 40” in both quoted paragraphs). It is reasonable for the new reader of a specialized blog to be required to do a bit of their own research to learn the meaning of common acronyms. Given that you chose an already well explained post to comment on, and that you failed to provide footnotes explaining your non-English words “ur” and “u”, I can only assume that you also accidentally omitted a footnote explaining that your comment was meant to be ironic.

    More generally, Teslarati is in error by one day when writing “B1047 launched (July 21 EDT)”. That Telstar 19 launch occurred at 01:50 EDT 22 July (which was 21 July PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)). Thus, if the Telkom 4 launch does occur as scheduled at 01:19 EDT 8 August, it will mark a 13 day (12 day 23 hour 29 minute) turnaround for LC-40 and OCISLY (Of Course I Still Love You, the recovery ASDS (Autonomous Spaceport Drone Ship)). SpaceX’s following launch is Telstar 18 also from LC-40, currently scheduled for 2335 EDT 17 August, targeting another two week turnaround for both pad and barge (not a barge!).

    geoffc, yes, given the detailed inspection they were going to put B1046 though, this is a really good core turnaround — assuming Teslarati’s conclusion is correct. Most everyone was expecting Telkom 4 to launch on B1049, and core trackers I follow weren’t predicting B1046 to fly again until September! While Teslarati’s logic makes sense, I’ve not heard a confirmation of his conclusion.

  • Kirk: Beat you to it. I had corrected the post before your comment appeared. :)

    Still, thank you. I strive to get things right.

  • geoffc

    @Kirk Their sluething does seem conclusive. The only singed/sooty core that could be trucked in, has to be B1046. Which is so awesome if true! I am hopeful.

    This modern Kremlinology is so much fun!

  • Kirk

    geoffc, SpaceX isn’t making the core tracking any easier with the small serial numbers they are using on the Block 5 boosters. Check out the “48” above the rooster’s comb on this Teslarati photo of B1048. At least they are labeled, and I suppose the difficulty is part of what makes the Kremlinology fun.

  • geoffc

    @kirk There used to be a much bigger marking at the bottom of the stage, when the legs were closed. But not seeing it on Block 5. We shall see.

    If it were not hard, it would not be as much fun.

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