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May 24, 2024 Quick space links

Courtesy of BtB’s stringer Jay. This post is also an open thread. I welcome my readers to post any comments or additional links relating to any space issues, even if unrelated to the links below.




Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • James Street

    “The choice is probably to reward her for helping to squelch pro-democracy demonstrations, while also attempting to pander to the now imprisoned Hong Kong populace.”

    Or to make sammiches.

  • Jeff Wright

    Just once, could someone copy Truax instead of Musk?


  • Edward

    The Raptor test (first link) ended at startup, so it may not have been a test to destruction but a test to find the upper limits but resulted in destruction due to surpassing the upper limits.
    Jeff Wright,
    Robert Truax was half a century ago. What was it about his technology or methods that you prefer over the technology and methods of SpaceX’s engineers?

  • Mitch S

    “Just once, could someone copy Truax instead of Musk?”

    I wasn’t familiar with Truax, but reading up on him makes me wonder if Musk is a someone who copied Truax.

    “What distinguished him was his visionary sense,”
    “He believed space travel could be more affordable and that spacecraft could be reusable.”
    “Ultimately, he saw our future in space, and the only way we’re going to get there was to make it affordable,”

  • Edward

    Mitch S quoted: “‘Ultimately, he saw our future in space, and the only way we’re going to get there was to make it affordable,’

    Truax had tried to start up a commercial launch company in the early 1980s. The Space Shuttle was intended to make access to space both affordable and frequent, capable of lifting heavy payloads to orbit, similar to the intentions of its copycat: Buran. The reality is that the Shuttle was not affordable and was not frequent, and eventually the mass capacity of the Shuttle was reduced, too. (So why didn’t they use the freed-up weight to resume painting the external tank, which may have prevented water from condensing and seeping into the insulation, preventing the Columbia disaster?) Ultimately, Buran only flew once, unmanned, without a payload, and for a brief time. It, too, was not affordable for the Soviets or the Russians to fly a second time, and its true capabilities are unknown. We don’t even know whether it could fly with people onboard.

    Truax had difficulty finding investors, because his launch vehicle would compete with the government-subsidized Space Shuttle. Worse, Congress declared that all payloads would launch on the Space Shuttle, a policy that nearly destroyed the U.S. launch industry and greatly helped the Ariane rocket family.

    Thank goodness for Peter Diamandis’s Ansari X-Prize, which proved citizen-run manned space is possible, garnering enthusiasm for the concept and leading the way to the commercial space industry we are growing today.

    The Space Shuttle’s legacy, however, is that it was so disastrous that the U.S. government decided to replace it with ancient methods of expendable launch vehicles and spacecraft rather than reusable ones. If it hadn’t been for the efforts of U.S. citizens who tried multiple times to start up a commercial launch industry, we would be stuck with the failing SLS-Orion system as our manned spacecraft and the expensive Atlas V, Delta II, and Delta IV, as well as the expensive commercial Pegasus and Taurus launch vehicles.

    The world has taken notice that, as Truax believed, commercial space is far superior to government space and that reusability is feasible and economical, allowing for even greater access to orbit.

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