SpaceX In New Mexico

I had speculated after the almost-successful drone ship landings that SpaceX had abandoned plans to do flight testing at Spaceport America, but apparently that’s not the case:

The original plan was to use the site for test flights of the second F9R Development Vehicle, known as F9R Dev2, a follow on vehicle from the impressive Grasshopper and F9R Dev1 vehicles that paved the way for the propulsive landing attempts.

Those vehicles were tested at SpaceX’s McGregor test site in Texas, but were restricted by an altitude ceiling, resulting in the decision to conduct tests at Spaceport America, at much greater altitudes.

2015-03-19 23_21_49-spacex falcon 9 reusable f9r fins – Google SearchNow, based on the advances made during recent missions, it appears SpaceX is hoping to promote the role of Spaceport America, specifically to put the first recovered stage through its paces.

Those tests will be used to find hardware limits, such as how many cycles can be put on a stage, while the second successfully recovered booster would provide the role of qualification testing.

Should the recovery efforts progress, the first launch of a reused booster is likely to occur in late 2016.

Interesting. What I don’t understand is why the helium tanks are a concern for the Turkmenistansat mission, but not for CRS.

The Obama/Netanyahu Phone Call

The crisis has exploded:

The crisis in the relationship we discuss in our new editorial statement has entered a new and potentially unprecedented phase.

It may well be that the president is going to present American Jews with a choice over the coming months no American president should ask us to make—to become parties to and participants in his effort to create what, in 2009, he called “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel.

…If you want to hate what Netanyahu said, hate it. But here’s the thing: How the prime minister of Israel talks about Israeli citizens who possess equal rights under the law and have their own means of redress under the law if they are mistreated should have no basis whatever in the “assessment” of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel. The president has spent years making very nice patter with Turkey’s Erdogan and other foreign leaders whose treatment of minorities do not deserve mention alongside Israel’s and whose suffering small sub-populations have no means of achieving redress.

Even those who are furious with Netanyahu should really take a breath and a close look and consider this point carefully: The Arab-vote business is a pretext. American presidents, this one especially, typically do not revisit special strategic relationships based on election-day maneuvers in a democracy, however unpleasant they might find them. In my view, Obama is hoping once again to use liberal Jewish disaffection in the United States with Netanyahu as a wedge to give him space to make a major policy pivot from the special relationship—one for which he has hungered since he came into office.


[Update early evening]

No peace in the Middle East soon, but it’s not because of Bibi.

The idiocy of the left knows no bounds.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!