More good stuff on the open frontier – 1/17

A few articles on technology, energy, and publishing that are worth a read and a brief comment. Efforts for soft landing to recover a first stage came amazingly close to success.

Worlds far away I’ll never visit

1/9 – Wired – Why the Silk Road Trial Matters – Some background on the upcoming trial of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged mastermind behind Silk Road, which is allegedly one of the first dark markets to sell all sorts of illegal stuff.

Since that is a world I’ll never get within a few light years of, following the case is only way I’ll get hints of what is that planet is like.


1/5 – Space.Com – Inside SpaceX’s Epic Fly-back Reusable Rocket Landing (Infographic)Very cool illustration of the Falcon 9 v1.1 with its Dragon spacecraft and the attempt to recover the first stage. This is rocket science.

1/10 – Space.Com – Daring SpaceX Rocket Landing Test Crashes After Successful Cargo Launch for NASA – After a few days delay for technical issues, SpaceX successfully launched another Dragon spacecraft to resupply the ISS. Major test in this launch was to recover the first stage in a soft landing on a recovery ship out in the ocean.

Good news, bad news. The first stage landed on the recovery barge, but rate of descent was too high and the stage crash landed. That counts as a test failure, but is tremendous progress in developing a recoverable first stage, which will slash the cost of space flight.

Elon Musk’s funny tweet:

Didn’t get good landing/impact video. Pitch dark and foggy. Will piece it together from telemetry and … actual pieces.

1-16 Video of SpaceX landing of reusable first stage – It wasn’t just a hard landing. From the video, the first stage was on a 30 or 45 degree angle when it touched down. Off angle made the rocket shoot over the side of the landing barge. Really close, but more work to do.

Still, quite an accomplishment just to get this close.

Read somewhere (too lazy to look for link) that the rocket needs lots of hydraulic fluid in the landing process. Didn’t have enough. Short about 10% of what was needed.


1/9 – The Verge – The Burner app saved me from PR hell at CES this year – For a few bucks, you can get a throw-away phone number for 30 days.  Purpose? Give out to all the marketers and sales staff at a conference. After a month, toss the number and the dozens or hundreds of followup cold calls won’t happen. Isn’t tech cool?

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