Hardly a day goes by I’m not reminded of at least one scene from Galaxy Quest…

So yesterday SpaceX launched the third prototype of its comically sci-fi looking Starship. It launched beautifully, hovered at 10k above the ground, did its terrifying bellyflop falling-with-style thing, then relit and landed neatly on its tail in a manner that would have made Doc Smith proud. High fives all around, cut to commercial.

Eight minutes later…

I’m told that the flight was a complete success in every way that mattered for the test, but it did have a tragicomic ending.

In both the best and worst of all possible ways, we’re living in the future. I kinda feel like private-sector tycoons are finally achieving what all us 60’s kids assumed would be commonplace by now – just in time to hand competent spaceflight to our dystopian masters. Sigh.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to Hardly a day goes by I’m not reminded of at least one scene from Galaxy Quest…

  1. Ben says:

    In addition, just this morning Spacex quietly launched and landed one of their Falcon boosters for the eighth time. In our lifetime, even if given unlimited budgets, NASA could never have managed anything remotely like that. Yes, sometimes capitalism works better than anything else.

  2. Wayne Dygert says:

    I’m kinda glad that neither my dad not R.A.Heinlein lived long enough to see the country they were so proud of falter under our stewardship

  3. Bear says:

    Go to 11:50. Looks like one engine blew out, and flaming propellent set the craft on fire.

  4. Mark Matis says:

    They claim, Bear, that is intentional. At least according to Mr. Musk. But then he is merely the reincarnation of P.T. Barnum but with more money and less ethics!

  5. Joel says:

    Yeah, they went from three motors to one on the ascent, and then landed on one. But something was on fire after the landing that you can’t convince me was supposed to be on fire.

  6. Paul B says:

    Capitalism will solve all issues. We will be in space at some time in the near future.

  7. Sendarius says:

    Ben:
    Capitalism is the worst possible political and economic system – except for all the rest.

    Bear:
    What you are commenting about IS intentional – the craft needs at least two engines to perform the flip, and they have had issues with ignition, so for this flight they switched to lighting three, and shutting off the extras once they no longer needed them. Apparently this is in response to someone asking on Twitter, “Since ignition is unreliable, why not light them all?”, and getting the response from Elon Musk, “Because we weren’t smart enough.”

    Joel:
    I doubt there is anything in that engine bay that is ordinarily flammable except for the fuels, although most anything will burn if you get it hot enough. The stray flame appears to be from a low pressure, uncontained methane leak, so it’s not a case of something on fire that shouldn’t be. It’s more something on fire that shouldn’t be THEN and THERE. The big badaBOOM that happened after landing is a natural consequence of filling a confined space with combustibles (the landing legs appear to have not deployed correctly, leaving the ship with its skirt on the ground), in the presence of an ignition source like hot engine bells. But what do I know, I’m no rocket surgeon.

  8. doubletrouble says:

    Watching the descent part of the video, I could almost see the wire that would be holding the model in any 1957 era sci-fi movie.

  9. Brandon says:

    CG and animation sure got better compared to a certain hollywood stage with guywires and pyrotechnics and back in 1969!

To the stake with the heretic!