Rocket Report: SpaceX explains landing failure, More on New Glenn delays

Enlarge / In mid-February a Falcon 9 launch was successful, but the first stage failed to land. (credit: SpaceX) Welcome to Edition 3.35 of the Rocket Report! There is an incredible amount of launch news this week, but I want to start with this: my new book on the origins of SpaceX, Liftoff: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX, was published this week. Early reviews have been tremendous, and if you're at all interested … [Read more...]

Starship goes up. Starship goes down. But is the program moving forward?

This gallery of SN10 images shows the vehicle's flight on Wednesday. [credit: Trevor Mahlmann ] So what, exactly, are we to make of the third flight of a full-scale Starship prototype? If nothing else, Wednesday afternoon's flight provided several minutes of first-rate entertainment: Rocketship goes up. Rocketship comes down. Rocketship … [Read more...]

SpaceX recycling vehicle for second Starship launch attempt [Updated]

Enlarge / Starship SN10 on the pad on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann / Ars Technica) Update 3:45 pm EST: The SN10 Starship prototype very nearly launched on Wednesday afternoon from South Texas, but a last-second out-of-bounds reading aborted the attempt. The abort was caused by a "slightly conservative high thrust limit," SpaceX founder Elon Musk said afterward. Basically, the onboard flight computer received data from one … [Read more...]

Blue Origin’s massive New Glenn rocket is delayed for years. What went wrong?

Enlarge / Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, speaks during the 32nd Space Symposium in 2016. A few months later, the company would formally announce development of the huge New Glenn rocket. (credit: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images) In the fall of 2017, shortly after he became chief executive officer of Blue Origin, Bob Smith received an extensive briefing on the state of the New Glenn rocket program. The projected launch date for … [Read more...]

The 2008 moment when triumph turned to torment for SpaceX

Enlarge / The launch of Flight Three of the Falcon 1 rocket looked promising at the beginning. (credit: Chris Thompson/SpaceX) This is an excerpt from chapter eight of the book LIFTOFF: Elon Musk and the Desperate Early Days That Launched SpaceX by our own Eric Berger. The book will be published on March 2, 2021. In this excerpt, it is the summer of 2008, and SpaceX has attempted to launch the Falcon 1 rocket twice already, failing both times. … [Read more...]

Rocket Report: Cornwall says ‘LOL, no’ to space tourism, Korean rocket on track

Enlarge / We won't be seeing New Glenn take flight for nearly two years, at least. (credit: Blue Origin) Welcome to Edition 3.34 of the Rocket Report! I apologize for the unplanned hiatus last week. The Rocket Report's Houston-based author lacked power until Wednesday night amidst a massive winter storm, and I had no reliable Internet until Friday afternoon. We still had no hot water at our house, but at least we're no longer freezing. We're … [Read more...]