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Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully completed the first test flight of Starship prototype #10, not only completing the launch and descent manuevers but also successfully landing the prototype vertically on the landing pad.
The flight was similar to the previous two in that the spacecraft rose very slowly, hovered at about 6 miles, and then did a flip to place itself horizontal for its descent. Then as it approached the ground it righted itself as it fired up three engines (to make sure at least one worked), and then shut down two so that one engine brought the spacecraft down smoothly.
Next comes prototype #11. Its flight should occur with only a matter of weeks.
Starship #10 on its way down after exploding.
UPDATE: A few minutes after landing the prototype exploded, flinging itself off the launchpad. No word yet on why this happened, but I wonder if maybe this was a planned self-destruction. They don’t plan to fly this bird again, and it takes up a lot of storage space. Blowing it up saves space, though it does destroy material that could be salvaged for other uses.
To the right is a screen capture from one of LabPadre’s live streams, shortly after the ship launched itself from the pad and was on its way down. It only went up about two hundred feet.
If this wasn’t planned, SpaceX needs to figure out why this happened. Either way, we shall certainly find out in the coming days.
Below is SpaceX’s video of the entire flight. Enjoy!
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.