Outrun Change

We need to learn quickly to keep up with the massive change around us so we don't get run over. We need to outrun change.

Still more amazing news from the open frontier of space: several successes and one, um, learning opportunity.

Intelsat 35e Mission” by SpaceX is in public domain – CC0 1.0

It’s been a good month for SpaceX. Three launches and one recovery of an already recycled Dragon capsule. China has demonstrated that rocket science is rocket science, meaning launches don’t always work.

7/3/17 – Space.com – Back Again…Again: SpaceX’s Dragon Makes Historic 2nd Splashdown A Dragon capsule that had previously been recovered from a trip to the International Space Station has just returned from the ISS a second time and successfully landed in the Pacific Ocean.

This is the first successful reuse of a Dragon capsule.


SpaceX’s cameras can track the Falcon 9 until after start of 2nd stage. Fantastic live feed. “Intelsat 35e Mission” by SpaceX is in public domain – CC0 1.0

7/5/17 – Space.com – Three Launches in 12 Days! SpaceX Lofts Heavy Communications Satellite

SpaceX launched Intelsat 35E on a Falcon 9. SpaceX did not try to recover the booster due to mission requirements. This was a heavy satellite, at 13,000 pounds (6K kg) placed in a high orbit. There wasn’t enough fuel left over after getting enough velocity to attempt recovery of the first stage.

I got to watch the launch on the 5th and the two aborts on the 2nd and 3rd. Both aborts were at the T-10 second point. Apparently, the on board computer reported some guidance factor correctly but that was outside the tolerance the ground computer was programmed to accept. As a result, the ground computer calculated an out-of-tolerance condition and aborted the flight. Coding was adjusted and the Falcon 9 lit up on the 5th. Sat was successfully placed in transfer orbit.

Photos of Long March 5 that I can find are all subject to copyright. So here is a simulation, which is quite similar to the real thing. “Long March 5” by Pascal is in public domain – CC0 1.0

7/2/17 – Behind the Black – China’s second launch of its Long March 5 rocket fails – Second attempt to launch a Long March 5 failed. Article points to an extremely brief press release saying the launch was “unsuccessful.” Official comment provided essentially no other details.

BtB article points out this is a big deal because this rocket is planned to launch the modules for the Chinese space station and an unmanned lunar mission next year.

Some background on Long March 5.

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