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I'm sure a lot of you are already bored by this shit, but I found today's launch particularly impressive for gaining an appreciation for just how much maneuverability there can be in the descent stage.
- I mean, that thing was still wibbly wobbling at over 500+ km per hour at a kilometre up, yet it hits a fucking bullseye. Amazing.detritus
- Omg, ufo at 25:15!detritus
- Awesome stuff. Thanks for postingGM278
- I'll never get tired of seeing the 1st stage coming back and landing like a pencil standingernexbcn
- software - one helluva drugfadein11
not space x, but an atlas is launching in 1min:
- Tesla going to Marsinv
- I initially thought this was a bit of a dick move — then I thought how cool it'd be for future space peoples to come across it floating around, wondering 'WTF?'detritus
- last launch footage was cool, eh inv? looking forward to the FH launch next year!
- Either way, it will be spectacular!inv
An interesting user comment from Arstechnica on the apparent Zuma failure...
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Legit conspiracy theory time. How do you put a satellite in orbit without anyone knowing about it? You hide it with another satellite!
Apparently, during the first launch window for Zuma back on November 15, a secretive US satellite tracked as "USA-276" was due to fly directly overhead under conditions ideal for a rendezvous. USA-276 itself is secretive and unusual, having passed as close as four miles from the ISS. It seems like the NRO (or whoever actually built it) has a lot of confidence in their control over that satellite and its maneuverability.
The rescheduled launch window for Zuma seemed to rule out a rendezvous with USA-276; the launch inclination was expected to be similar, but the satellite wouldn't be passing overhead at the time. However, several days of launch delays coincidentally moved Zuma's launch window closer and closer to lining up with USA-276's orbit. The earlier launch windows could have been decoys, intended to suggest a willingness to launch away from USA-276 when it remained their goal the whole time.
What are the reasons for this? Well, if USA-276 is meant to be a highly maneuverable satellite, it could potentially burn through fuel quickly. Testing the ability to refuel an unmanned spy satellite would be highly valuable. If you made the rendezvous quickly, you could claim your refueling drone was "lost" and it would be hard to disprove. We're not yet at the point that civilians can track the exact location of every satellite at all times without government help (hell, we can still lose highly advanced jumbo jets in the middle of the ocean). Once the refueling drone is docked with USA-276, they would be tracked as a single object in orbit.
Why claim it's lost, then? To try to hide that you have this ability. That's especially relevant when you consider the repeated close passes USA-276 has made to the ISS. It seems like a satellite meant to surveil other satellites, which would be more valuable if it had ample fuel and could make orbital changes more frequently. You'd only get one real shot at it before the element of surprise is lost, but if you had a maneuverable satellite with ample fuel on board, you could go take close-up photos of a few Russian satellites before they realized what you were doing. Hell, maybe even get close enough to grab one and deorbit it.
They also could just have deorbited USA-276, and parked Zuma in its orbit so it looks like USA-276 now. Claim you lost your new satellite, when you really lost your old and spent one.
Not SpaceX, Rocket Labs*
Congratulations New Zealand on becoming members of a very select group of countries!
A great summary of the recent successful orbital insertion by Rocket Labs by space nerd Scott Manley..
* We'll be needing some sort of generic 'rocket of the day' thread in here soon enough, especially once Blue Origin get going...
Crikey, I'd never seen this. Just imagine having no concept of what this is and seeing it in the sky overhead one night.
- i was getting drunk at a Korean BBQ spot when this went off.. alhambra is 15min away hahapockets
- apparently everyone forgot how to drive at the timepockets
- Korean BBQ on the west coast under alien-looking rocket plumes at dusk is just too fucking sci-fi for me. Lucky bastard!detritus
Bunch of fucker! Delayed until after midnight GMT
Ten minutes to liftoff. Go baby, go!
- Oh fuck me, have they brought it back forward?! Thank fuck I came home when I did! (!!!)detritus
- HOLY CRAP the two falcon rockets landing!GM278
- Thanks for posting, man - I would've been totally gutted if I'd missed that - I literally got home 5 minutes before reading your post!detritus
- You're very welcome!GM278