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SpaceX to attempt first night splashdown since Apollo 8 in 1968

Capitalism in space: Because of weather delays, SpaceX will now attempt the splashdown of Resilience carrying four astronauts from ISS in the predawn hours tomorrow, the first nighttime splashdown in more than a half century, since Apollo 8 in 1968.

Resilience will undock from ISS tonight at 8:35 pm (Eastern), and splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico at 2:57 am (Eastern).

This will also be only the third nighttime landing ever. Besides Apollo 8, which was planned, in 1976 Soyuz 23 failed to dock with the Soviet Union’s Salyut 5 station and came home after only two days in space. That unplanned landing also turned out to be the first and only manned splashdown ever in Russian history, as the capsule landed on frozen Lake Tengiz in Kazakhstan, breaking through the ice, during a blizzard. The two astronauts were safely recovered, though their return to Earth was far from pleasant.


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.


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  • pawn

    Just read the Wiki on the mission. You can’t get any more Russian than that.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Can anyone recommend a good source of info on the ground track of the re-entering Dragon? I am temporarily at a location in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, near La Paz. I would like to determine whether Dragon will be visible here during re-entry.

  • TommyK

    Great question Ray. I’m in Northern California and was wondering if the re-entry might come by this far north.

  • pawn

    I’m not an expert but the Dragon reentry track should be somewhat aligned with the ISS ground track. With splashdown in the eastern GOM just offshore of FL, it is probably going to be coming over Central America during the reentry. I’m just guessing.

  • Mark

    @Tommy K: Re-entry from the s/w to NE coming over the Yucatan Peninsula.

  • Ray Van Dune

    What I have done is look at the Heavens-above website for ISS passes in the re-entry timeframe.

    I found none for my locale, so I conclude that I will probably not see the Dragon either, because I am sure the Dragon will be in the same inclination, and slightly ahead or behind the ISS, depending on the maneuvers that are used in separating from the ISS. But I’ll be scanning the skies anyway.

    It is remarkable how comparatively rare ISS passes are here at 24-ish degree north latitude, compared to the 48-ish north latitude I normally observe from! I believe this is due to the fact that at higher latitudes the ISS orbital track is more East-West, covering a broad swath of longitudes, but nearer the Equator is is steeply inclined at around 51 degrees, and thus a given longitude point las a lower probability of seeing a visible pass.

  • Cotour

    Guess who’s going be a regular feature here on BTB?

    I bet the Zman never saw that coming.

    God, this is going to get ugly (But I like her smile :)

  • John

    They’re going to the gulf of Mexico, I’m hearing it’s the Panama City splashdown area.

  • Cotour: You obviously did not pay much attention. After the first National Space Council meeting under Trump, I stopped paying much attention to it. It was designed solely as a propaganda machine, so its meetings were garbage. Much more important were the larger decisions made outside that council.

    It will be the same, in fact more so, under Biden.

  • wayne

    Just watched the last 10 minutes of splash-down real quick, –>how far off the coast are we talking about?

    Cotour/ Mr. Z.,
    –Is this essentially one of those vice-presidential duty-things’, or what? (the national space council)

    you’re starting to worry me, my man! Kamala, really?! (The AOC thing’ I can totally understand, she’s not my type but there is something to be said for youth and puppy-dog eyes.)
    Kamala— well, I’d put forth a proposition:
    We all know exactly what she is, we’re just negotiating the price. (so to speak)

    here we go…

    CBS News
    Apollo 8 Splashdown 12-27-68
    (cued to roughly the last 10 minutes)

  • wayne

    This, is really good.

    NASA’s Space Tracking Ships
    Scott Manley 4-15-21

    “During the 1950’s and 60’s the US converted a number of aging cargo ships into floating tracking stations to support the space program. About 20 of these would be converted to host multiple antennas and tons of electronics as well as mini versions of mission control which could operate independent of primary mission control if needed.”

  • Cotour


    I like to find something positive in most everyone. For instance, Stalin had one hell of a mustache. No?

    Kamala, Leftist, racist and as dopey and as vacant as she is has a nice smile. And thats it for her, its got her a long way in her career. I don’t know where you are going with this but I think you might get yourself suspended for a week if you continue :)

    Just another symbolic job for the no can do, know nothing about much of anything, 2% VP.

  • David K

    I for one am glad that they are keeping the national space council with the VP chairing it. I mean of course it doesn’t do much, but there are so many other terrible projects that a VP could otherwise work on – starting wars, destroying the energy sector, indoctrinating young kids, etc. I’d much prefer that they focus on something relatively positive even if their contribution is minimal.

  • @ pawn: I read the article, too, and concur.

    “Yeah, well, landing a passenger jet on a river is cool, but let me tell you about *my* landing!”

  • wayne

    Well, if recall correctly, she does have a lot of teeth.
    –> sorta like Mr. Ed. (so to speak)

    continuing on my apollo-8 theme…..

    “The Future of Space Exploration & Apollo 8”
    The Moore Show w/ Robert Zimmerman
    May 2013

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