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SpaceX successfully launches Italian civilian/military radar satellite

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully used its Falcon 9 rocket to launch an Italian civilian/military radar satellite.

This was the fifth attempt to launch in five days, with the first three attempts canceled due to weather and fourth canceled because a cruise ship had violated the no-go zone in the Atlantic.

The first stage completed its third flight, landing at Cape Canaveral after sunset. I highlight this last fact because it shows how completely routine these 1st stage landing have become. No one even notices that the first stage has come back to Florida, and did in the dark. Also, this 1st stage had originally been configured for Falcon Heavy as one of its side boosters. This was its first flight after being reconfigured.

As I write this the satellite and upper stage are still linked together, coasting to the orbital point where the upper stage can boost the satellite into a transfer orbit and then deploy it. UPDATE: Satellite has successfully deployed.

The 2022 launch race:

4 SpaceX
2 China
1 Virgin Orbit


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.


  • Scott M.

    Thanks to the southern trajectory, a lot of the ground cameras were able to get some AMAZING shots, including the stage separation and boostback burn.

  • Patrick Underwood

    The very first F9 “land” landing was done in the dark, way back in 2015.

    Beautiful footage, can’t wait to get home and watch it on something larger than my phone!

  • Scott M: You reminded me that I did not link to the live stream, which is still available to see that incredible footage during launch. I have added it to the post.

  • t-dub

    You guys were right, the ground camera footage was awesome! Also, the landing of the first stage with the sun set dim in the background was absolutely beautiful. Watching SpaceX doing this never gets old for me.

  • David Eastman

    I’ve never been able to find a good answer on what, if any, penalty there is for violating the range exclusion like this. Apparently if they are outside the 12 mile limit on US territorial waters it’s basically none, but I’d think in this case, even if the ship was that far out, for a known major entity like Carribean Cruise lines to either screw up that large or just say “screw it, our schedule is more important than yours”, there’s got to be some pushback..

  • pawn

    With the unprecedented launch cadence on the Eastern Range and the presence of a number of cruise ships at Port Canaveral now, this was bound to happen sometime. I think that folks need to sit down, the Range and the Cruise lines and work this out. The Range has always felt they had carte-blanc on the offshore waters. I am sure that the situation can be improved with dialogue between the parties, I just hope the Range doesn’t climb on their customary high horse and decides to work with the other concerns.

    Caribbean Cruise lines schedule is very important. Unexpected delays wreck havoc on not only the passengers but a huge amount of port infrastructure and support personnel. This costs money and hurts the companies bottom line. The Range has never had the ability to make or to take into account these impacts before, ever.

    Since there are a number of cruise lines that use the Port maybe they could form a users group together so that there was only one entity the Range had to negotiate with.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Orbital mechanics and weather delay dictated the launch date, time and azimuth. I suspect the cruise ship could have avoided the exclusion are by heading East initially instead of south. In fact, they may have headed south thinking they WERE avoiding it!

  • geoffc

    Interestingly, Coast Guard is investigating the cruise ship…

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