Rand Simberg yesterday posted an intriguing essay speculating on how the arrival of Starship is going to vastly change how and where rockets launch from Earth, encouraging the increase in spaceports along the equator while changing the design of satellites launched from that point.
He describes the many advantages for launch from the equator, and suggests it is really the only location that will allow for regular, reliable, and frequent launches, the kind that SpaceX wants to happen using Starship. This is maybe the key point:
You get maximum advantage of earth’s rotation by launching due east at the equator. There are no launch windows to get there; you can launch any time of the day, every day, and you will be in the equatorial orbit plane. There is also little weather risk; hurricanes at the equator are almost unheard of (there’s too little coriolis there to spin things up).
Launching from the equator will make some high inclination orbits more difficult to reach, but he suggests the solution will be to rethink the satellites themselves, designing them differently so that they, not the rocket, get them to the orbit they want.
Read it all. He raises some interesting points that I think Elon Musk has already thought of, suggested by the company’s decision to purchase two oil rigs and refurbish them as launch and landing platforms for Starship.
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.
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 available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can 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. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.
Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.