Tag Archives: spacex

Progress…and Soyuz

Get it? HAR!

Week one of the revision is drawing to a close, and, while I’m not thrilled with my progress, I am at least satisfied that progress is being made. There’s always an adjustment period when switching between projects, and I’m just starting to overcome that. You all saw my list of things that I wanted to get done throughout the novel; I’ve converted a lot of that to more specific suggestions to myself for specific chapters, and I’m just starting to put my nose to the grindstone.

One lesson I learned from my first revision phase is to start at the beginning and work in a roughly chronological order through the rest of the story. That’s doesn’t mean that I can’t touch chapter 2 until chapter 1 is finished or anything like that, it just means that I want to work on one plot element and all that it entails at a time, in order. Last time, I wrote a lot in Part III and Part IV without even re-reading Part I and Part II, and it gave the novel a really disconnected feel that I had to spend additional time fixing.

Also, I had a few extra, boring minutes, and I made myself a cover mock-up. Let me know what you think in the comments! All images/fonts are licensed under Creative Commons or are in the public domain.

Cover Mockup

As pretty much every American knows, the last Space Shuttle flight just ended, and already the Russians are saying “it’s our space age now.” Sure didn’t take them long to start crowing, but it’s their right. SpaceX has said in the past that they could go from government approval to flying astronauts in three years, but that approval hasn’t yet arrived. Boeing’s CST-100 and others are even further behind.

I have nothing against the Russians, mind; their space program has been much more consistent than ours has, if more single-minded. You certainly don’t hear about Russian robots visiting other planets; NASA and ESA have the market cornered there. It’s not as though the egg is entirely on our face.

And the good news is, once the new ships start to arrive, we’ll have lots more options, and once the rockets that will carry those ships are ready, we’ll be able to put even more things in orbit. NASA might not be looking so good right now, but, in the grand scheme of things, spaceflight is doing okay.

Oh, except for the James Webb telescope. Every scientist ever wants it. Will Congress let them have it?

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting back to work. See you on Monday.

Earth is Spaceship-tastic!

Horrible evening so far – I came home to discover that the dog had, at some point in the preceding hours, experienced uncontrollable diarrhea in his kennel. And my wife was in class. So, guess whose job it was to clean the crate, clean the dog, and sanitize our entire apartment? Yours truly, of course.

But let us not dwell on that, disgusting and fascinating as it is. Instead, let us talk about spaceships. What follows is an elementary introduction to the current “state of the art” of space travel – if you don’t know anything about it, then this will be a great place for you to start.

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Knowing is Half the Battle

As I wrote recently, I recently spent an evening plotting out my story all the way to the end, scene by scene. I did this to give myself a feeling of direction and, if I’m honest with myself, to put off writing a draft that seemed interminable.

But I am so freaking glad that I did it. I always hated the idea of doing scene outlines before because it seemed to take all of the joy out of writing. Like, rather than experiencing the story, you were just recording it, and that seemed like work rather than fun. But ooh boy, was I wrong.

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The Cost of Private Spaceflight

I was reading an editorial by Robert Zubrin on the Mars Society website yesterday, and although he waxes extremely dramatic in the article, one of the things he said gave me pause. Referring to the Falcon 9/Dragon launch last week, he said:

The SpaceX team…accomplished a feat previously reserved for major governments.  They did it on a budget one-tenth the size and a schedule one-quarter the length of that assumed as necessary by conventional bureaucratic planners in America.

I can’t verify those “numbers” such as they are, but it did lead me to do a little bit of research on my own.

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Super Important Falcon 9/Dragon Update URGENT

Apparently there was a lot of speculation yesterday about a “secret payload” (Top Secret, even) on the Dragon spacecraft, known only the privileged upper echelons of SpaceX’s ranks.

Today that secret payload was revealed!

From SpaceX’s press release:

SpaceX Reveal’s Dragon’s “Secret” Payload

Before the successful launch, voyage, and recovery of SpaceX’s Dragon Spacecraft, the first time in history a commercial company has recovered a spacecraft from orbit, reporters were buzzing with news of a “secret” payload, stowed on board.

It was a payload so secret, SpaceXers made it Top Secret (think Val Kilmer 1984, not official US Government).

Top Secret cargo!

So what was inside the mystery package? Their tribute to Monty Python.

A wheel of cheese.

Bravo, SpaceX. May all of your space voyages involve cultured foodstuffs.

An Historic Day

As a longtime cheerleader of private spaceflight company SpaceX, I’m absolutely thrilled to announce this morning that the second launch of their Falcon 9 rocket was completely successful. Its payload was the new Dragon spacecraft, also developed by SpaceX; the Dragon made several complete orbits of the Earth and successfully re-entered the atmosphere a few hours after launch.

To quote SpaceX’s press release,

This marks the first time a commercial company has successfully recovered a spacecraft reentering from low-Earth orbit. It is a feat performed by only six nations or government agencies: the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India, and the European Space Agency.

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