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SpaceX launches two SES communication satellites

Only a few hours after SpaceX launched 52 Starlink satellites from California, the company successfully launched two communications satellites for the Luxembourg company SES, using its Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral.

The first stage completed its sixth flight, landing safely on a drone ship in the Atlantic. The rocket’s two fairings completed their third and seventh flights, respectively.

The leaders in the 2023 launch race:

19 SpaceX
11 China
4 Russia
2 Rocket Lab

American private enterprise now leads China 21 to 11 in the national rankings of this year’s launches, and the whole world combined 21 to 17. SpaceX by itself is tied with the rest of the world, including other American companies, 19 to 19.

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


  • Jeff Wright

    SES—they’re a big deal.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Mr Z,

    Did you not used to have a link for story tips along with your evening pauses?

  • sippin_bourbon: I have periodically posted the guidelines below, while mentioning that if you have something you want to suggest, mention this fact in the comments (without posting a link), and I will get in touch with you. I have emailed you.

    The guidelines for submitting Evening Pauses:
    1. The subject line should say “evening pause.”
    2. Please send only one suggestion per email.
    3. Variety! Don’t send me five from the same artist. I can only use one. Pick your favorite and send that.
    4. Live performance preferred.
    5. Quirky technology, humor, and short entertaining films also work.
    6. Suggestions should generally be short, less than 10 minutes, preferable under 5 minutes
    7. Search BtB first to make sure your suggestion hasn’t already been posted.
    8. I might not respond immediately, as I schedule these in a bunch.
    9. Avoid the politics of the day. The pause is a break from such discussion.

  • Edward

    I remember less than a decade ago, more than five decades into the space age, ULA made a big deal out of launching twice within six days. Now, about a decade and a half after its first orbital launch, SpaceX has launched twice on the same day, and it is *yawn* no big deal, because it isn’t even the first time SpaceX has done so.

    What a difference a little commercial operations makes. I can hardly wait until Rocket lab begins multiple launches on the same day, and until even more commercial companies launch multiple times daily, too. Then we will really be “cooking with gas.”

    Because commercial space has made access to space more regular and less expensive, there are far more companies today doing business in space than there were before commercial space made its mark:

    Lower entry barriers

    Technology evolution, decreasing launch costs, and higher demand for space products and services have created opportunities for entrepreneurs. The pandemic provided additional momentum with virtual incubators and accelerators. Investors, talent, suppliers, customers, and other resources became suddenly reachable through videoconference calls. Additionally, large and well-capitalized space companies, such as Blue Origin, are actively working on initiatives to help reduce barriers and costs to access and stay in space.

    ULA was a bit optimistic in 2016 when they predicted 20 people working in space by 2021, but the attitude and eagerness still exists inside many new and old companies. (“ULA Innovation: CisLunar-1000” 7 minutes)

    We are held back in manned space, because we are still in competition with government. Bigelow’s space habitat company went belly up because government delayed commercial manned space. Virgin Orbit is in serious danger of going belly up due to government delays in approving its launch license. Starship is still waiting for a launch approval two years after the FAA received the application. Boo government!

    Fortunately, NASA is working to solve, by the end of the decade, the problem of government competition. NASA’s plan is to get out of the way of commercial manned space and to use their commercial products instead of its own. Hurray NASA!

    Joe, one of the commenters here on BTB, started his own company to supply solar arrays for small cubesats. He is part of the solution. Hurray Joe!

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