Readers!
 

My annual February birthday month fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black is now over. It was the best February campaign ever, and the second best of all of my month-long fund-raising campaigns.

 

There were too many people who contributed to thank you all personally. If I did so I would not have time for the next day or so to actually do any further posts, and I suspect my supporters would prefer me posting on space and culture over getting individual thank you notes.

 

Let this public thank suffice. I say this often, but I must tell you all that you cannot imagine how much your support means to me. I’ve spent my life fighting a culture hostile to my perspective, a hostility that has often served to squelch my success. Your donations have now allowed me to bypass that hostility to reach a large audience.

 

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First Falcon Heavy demo launch to include two used boosters

The competition heats up: SpaceX plans to use two already flown first stage boosters when it does its first demo flight of Falcon Heavy later this year.

Musk said the rocket cores for Falcon Heavy’s first flight are two to three months away from completion. He emphasized that the first launch will carry a lot of risk, and as such, SpaceX doesn’t plan to carry a valuable payload or payloads with it. “We will probably fly something really silly on Falcon Heavy because it is quite a high risk mission,” he said.

SpaceX will seek to recover all the boosters from the first Falcon Heavy flight, assuming all goes according to plan. Musk said the two side boosters would land back at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, followed by the center core returning to a drone ship in the Atlantic.

They will also try to recover the upper stage, but are not hopeful this will succeed. The article also notes that they hope to fly an additional four used boosters in 2017. SES is eager to use them on its three scheduled flights this year.

The company has also said that the booster that was successfully reused this week will not fly again, but will instead be put on display in Florida.

Posted from the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

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.
 

3 comments

  • LocalFluff

    I thought that Falcon Heavy required different first stages. But that’s maybe from the cross feeding concept that has been abandoned for the time being as I understand. Having the three first stages share fuel. But pumping fuel as fast as engines burn them is hard. If they relaunch used rockets they are surely just bundled together F9s. Cool that they have the flexibility to do that!

  • Paul

    FH core is different for sure. From what I understand, side cores & normal F9 can be interchanged, currently with changing out the octoweb (engine mount).

  • LocalFluff

    SPX could launch an internet competition suggesting filling up that “silly payload” of 50 tons to orbit. I think such an idiotic stunt might actually be a great success for promoting private space flight. What do you wanna recycle for ever and ever? For $2,000 per kilogram, how could it go wrong?

    *”- Look in this binocular here my son. That dot moving up there has your baby hobbyhorse inside of it!”
    “- WOAAA! Daddy, you destroyed my rocking hobbyhorse! Bad daddy bad!! (And why would anyone want to put a rocking chair in microgravity where it cannot work, you’re a really stupid daddy too! WOAAA)”*

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