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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!
On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.
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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News