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SpaceX launches 60 more Starlink satellites; 1st stage landing fails

Capitalism in space: SpaceX this morning successfully launched sixty more Starlink satellites, raising the number in the constellation to 300.

However, though the launch was successful, the first stage, on its fourth flight, failed to land successfully on the drone ship in the Atlantic. Watching the live stream, it appeared from a whiff of smoke on the edge of the screen that the booster missed the target by only a short distance. This is the first time this has happened since 2015 2018 (correction from reader).

That this first stage landing failure is the news story illustrates how far they have come..

The standings in the 2020 launch race:

3 China
3 SpaceX
1 Arianespace (Europe)
1 Rocket Lab
1 Russia
1 Japan
1 Northrop Grumman

In the national rankings the U.S. now leads China 6 to 3.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • geoffc

    You forgot CRS-16, where the grid fins hydraulic systems failed. It spun up, and they continued to aim at the water, since they could not control it to divert it to land properly.

    They recovered in the last second for a soft landing on the water a mile or two offshore of the landing pad.

    Core 1050, Dec 2018.

  • geoffc: You are correct. I have edited the post.

  • MDN

    Any word on the fairing recovery? I watched the summary clip at their site but it made no mention.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Cannot find any info on the fairings yet. I was a little disappointed.
    This booster was going to have the fastest turn around at 8 weeks.

    Was pulling for them, as that just sounds phenomenal. However they have shown that they are very good at learning from the failures.

    By the old school standard, “did the payload make it to the correct orbit” this was still a success.

  • Calvin Dodge

    The speed at MECO (7700 km/hr) seemed a little high to me. I wonder if the reentry cooked some guidance hardware.

  • Willi

    The view of the first few seconds of liftoff was one of the best I’ve ever seen…

  • sippin_bourbon

    Still no word on fairing capture.

    I caught a comment (tweeter, I think) that stated that if there is an anomaly detected, the booster will steer to avoid the landing barge, to avoid the possibility of damage to the vessel.

    Not sure if this is the case here, or wild speculation.

    I liked the launch angle too, at the start. Appeared to be a camera at the top of the retracted tower? Or maybe one of the grounding towers.

    What would be super would be a 3d feed on the next one, so I can have can watch with one of these fancy VR head sets.

  • Diane Wilson

    @sippin-bourbon, it’s the other way around; the normal descent path is into the water; if the entry burn and guidance are good, it will dog-leg to the landing spot. True for both land and barge landings. So if anything goes wrong, the default is “into the water.”

    What’s curious (haven’t checked for a couple of hours) is that apparently the first stage did a soft landing over water.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Okay. I get. A failsafe into the water, and if everything is green redirects to the barge.

    Result is the same, tho, this morning. All was not green, so it did not steer to the barge, and stuck with the default safe course. At least, that is what is being speculated.

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