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SpaceX successfully launches another 60 Starlink satellites

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully used its Falcon 9 rocket to place another sixty Starlink satellites in orbit, bringing that constellation to over 1,700 in orbit.

The first stage was making its second flight, and landed successfully on the drone ship in the Atlantic. Both fairings were reused, with one making a record fifth flight. Though the rocket has not yet deployed the satellites as I write this, it is expected in about a half hour and based on past history, should proceed with no problems. If there is an issue I will report it immediately.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

16 SpaceX
13 China
7 Russia
2 Rocket Lab
2 ULA

The U.S. now leads China 22 to 13 in the national rankings.

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. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

7 comments

  • Willi

    The Falcon 9 going transonic made for an outstanding moment in the video.

  • Willi: Yeah, I really thought something had gone wrong at that moment. But no, simply breaking the sound barrier with some oomph.

  • Jeff Wright

    I didn’t see the video…planes at that speed often have a condensation cone around them based on humidity. Is this what happened? If so- Musk should splice it with the prior landing footage. Tornadoes can lack a condensation funnel in low humidity-you look for the debris swirl.

  • Willi observed: “The Falcon 9 going transonic made for an outstanding moment in the video.”

    A bit of an understatement, that. It sounds from the commentary that every single SpaceX employee was going ” Oh _ _ _ _!” Just a momentary catch in the voice, but speaks volumes.

    That stuff never gets old.

  • Scott M.

    Scott Manley just published a short video describing the physics behind this phenomenon. He includes a nice clip of the same thing happening during the Solar Dynamic Observatory launch.

  • Ray Van Dune

    I also noticed that the SpaceX employees’ cheering was especially loud after MECO and stage sep… events that have typically earned polite golf-claps lately! A lot of folks got a real scare.

  • Edward

    The link to Manley’s video on the unusual transonic shock wave:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlkXVJQ0atE (1 minutes)

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