SpaceX’s Pad Abort Test Explained; 2nd Edition of PAOLO BACIGALUPI The Windup Girl Released; Gollancz Geeks Returns; Project Hieroglyph Releases New Anthology; Night Shade Announces Datlow’s Best of Horror; Juan Carlos Aguilar announces an anthology of Venezuelan Science Fiction; New McFarland Releases;
Crew Dragon’s first critical flight test, known as a Pad Abort Test, is expected to take place this Wednesday, May 6, from SpaceX’s Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) in Cape Canaveral, Florida. While the test is originating from the same launch pad we use for operational missions, this is not an operational flight.
This will be the first flight test of SpaceX’s revolutionary new launch abort system, and the odds of encountering delays or issues are high. Fortunately the test doesn’t need to be perfect to be valuable—our primary objective is to capture as much data as possible as the data captured here will be key in preparing Crew Dragon for its first human missions in 2017.
1. What is a Pad Abort Test?
A Pad Abort Test is a trial run for a spacecraft’s launch abort system (sometimes called a launch escape system). This system is designed to quickly get the crew and spacecraft away from the rocket in the event of a potential failure. It is similar to an ejection seat for a fighter pilot, but instead of ejecting the pilot out of the spacecraft, the entire spacecraft is “ejected” away from the launch vehicle.
2. How is SpaceX’s Launch Abort System different than those of other spacecraft?
Previous launch abort systems have been powered by a rocket tower mounted on top of the spacecraft. During an emergency, the tower would ignite and essentially pull the spacecraft to safety. This works well while the spacecraft is on the launch pad and for a few minutes into ascent, but once the vehicle reaches a certain altitude, the system is no longer useful and must be discarded.
SpaceX’s launch abort system, however, is integrated directly into the spacecraft. This means Crew Dragon will have launch escape capability from the launch pad all the way to orbit.
Instead of a separate rocket tower mounted on top of the spacecraft, SpaceX’s launch abort system leverages eight SuperDraco rocket engines built into the walls of the Crew Dragon spacecraft. The SuperDracos are capable of producing 120,000 lbs of axial thrust in under a second, which results in transporting the Crew Dragon spacecraft nearly 100 meters (328 ft) in 2 seconds, and more than half a kilometer (1/3 mi) in just over 5 seconds.
3. What will the actual Pad Abort Test look like?
The graphic below illustrates the Pad Abort Test trajectory and sequence of events:
T-0: The eight SuperDracos ignite simultaneously and reach maximum thrust, propelling the spacecraft off the pad.
T+.5s: After half a second of vertical flight, Crew Dragon pitches toward the ocean and continues its controlled burn. The SuperDraco engines throttle to control the trajectory based on real-time measurements from the vehicle’s sensors.
T+5s: The abort burn is terminated once all propellant is consumed and Dragon coasts for just over 15 seconds to its highest point about 1500 meters (.93 mi) above the launch pad.
T+21s: The trunk is jettisoned and the spacecraft begins a slow rotation with its heat shield pointed toward the ground again.
T+25s: Small parachutes, called drogues, are deployed first during a 4-6 second window following trunk separation.
T+35s: Once the drogue parachutes stabilize the vehicle, three main parachutes deploy and further slow the spacecraft before splashdown.
T+107s: Dragon splashes down in the Atlantic Ocean about 2200 meters (1.4 mi) downrange of the launch pad.
Crew Dragon will accelerate from 0 to nearly 100 mph in one second. The entire test is less than two minutes long, with Dragon traveling over one mile in the first 20 seconds alone.
4. What do we hope to learn from this test?
As the first flight test of SpaceX’s launch abort system, every piece of data we gather moves us closer to our first crewed flights in 2017. At a top level, we are looking to demonstrate the overall effectiveness of Crew Dragon’s launch escape system, along with a handful of more specific objectives:
Sequencing. Demonstrate proper sequencing of the pad abort timeline—particularly given that several critical commands need to execute in very short periods of time.
Closed Loop Control. Demonstrate the ability of the eight SuperDraco engines to respond in real time to incoming data in order to ensure Crew Dragon stays on the appropriate course.
Trajectory Data. Obtain accurate trajectory data both for maximum altitude as well as distance downrange.
External and Internal Environments. Obtain data on impact of various internal and external factors to Crew Dragon to help ensure safe conditions for crew transport.
5. Will there be anyone on board during the pad abort test?
There will be a dummy on board the spacecraft, but despite popular belief, his name is not Buster. Buster the Dummy already works for a great show you may have heard of called MythBusters. Our dummy prefers to remain anonymous for the time being.
The purpose of the dummy is to collect data on the forces (gravitational loads) being experienced inside the spacecraft. This along with data gathered from the vehicle will help ensure crewmembers can withstand the environments seen during a launch abort.
Pending the outcome of the pad abort test, SpaceX will then conduct an in-flight abort test. With the in-flight abort, we will test the same launch abort system, however this time in mid-flight during an actual launch. Both the pad abort and in-flight abort will be challenging tests, but the data gathered here will be key to helping develop one of the safest, most reliable spacecraft ever flown.
5thof May 2015
THE WINDUP GIRL, 2ND EDITION BY PAOLO BACIGALUPI IS NOW AVAILABLE ON ALL MAJOR E-TAILORS!
Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards for best novel, a new edition of the break-out science fiction debut featuring additional stories and a Q&A with the author.Anderson Lake is AgriGen’s Calorie Man, sent to work undercover as a factory manager in Thailand while combing Bangkok’s street markets in search of foodstuffs thought to be extinct, hoping to… read more
ALSO BY PAOLO BACIGALUPI
Paolo Bacigalupi’s debut collection demonstrates the power and reach of the science fiction short story. Social criticism, political parable, and environmental advocacy lie at the center of Paolo’s work. Each of the stories herein is at once a warning, and a celebration of the tragic comedy of the human experience… read more
AN IMPRINT OF
We know we’ve been very quiet for a some time, but that’s because we’ve been working hard to improve our Geeks programme. We’ve been updating a few things behind the scenes to ensure that we can give you the best possible experience. And now… we’re back!
As always, we will only send you news, updates and emails about books that we know you will enjoy, based on the preferences you filled out when you joined.
If you would like to request a review copy of a book, please do so by 22nd May by emailing and quoting the book title in the subject line.
But for now, we think you’ve waited long enough. Let’s talk books!
by Justina Robson
Who we think will love this book: Fans of SF.
Why we think you’ll love this book: A new Justina Robson book is always a treat, but Glorious Angels is a big book that is making waves in the genre community. This groundbreaking new novel from one of the genre’s most respected authors is a thrilling mix of science, magic and sexual politics.
On a world where science and magic are hard to tell apart, a stranger arrives in a remote town with news of political turmoil to come. And a young woman learns that she must free herself from the role she has accepted . . .
Published just over a month ago, Glorious Angels is already garnering incredible critical acclaim:
‘Tap dances along the lines between genre boundaries, kicking up its heels with a giddy, ferociously smart inventiveness’ SFX
‘A taut thriller swimming in high concepts’ Independent on Sunday
‘Delves into so many emotions and topics, including lust, romance, family and independence’ Sci-Fi Now
Now we want to know what you think. We have 25 copies of Glorious Angels to giveaway for review. You can start reading the extract or request a review copy
Who we think will love this book: Fans of SF, fans of Space Opera, fans of Crime and Noir fiction
Why we think you’ll love this book: Because this book has everything. ‘Helpful aliens’, space travel and a murder mystery.
The aliens are here. The Jackaroo have given humanity fifteen worlds and the means to reach them. They’re a chance to start over, but they’re also littered with ruins and artifacts left by the Jackaroo’s previous clients.
Chloe Millar works in London, mapping changes caused by imported scraps of alien technology. When she stumbles across a pair of orphaned kids possessed by an ancient ghost, she must decide whether to help them or to hand them over to the authorities. Authorities who believe that their visions point towards a new kind of danger.
And on one of the Jackaroo’s gift-worlds, the murder of a man who has just arrived from Earth leads policeman Vic Gayle to a war between rival gangs over possession of a remote excavation site.
Something is coming through. Something linked to the visions of Chloe’s orphans and Vic Gayle’s murder investigation. Something that will challenge the limits of the Jackaroo’s benevolence…
Published in February this is what the authors and critics have said:
‘Something Coming Through is as tight and relentlessly paced as an Elmore Leonard thriller, and full of McAuley’s customary sharp eye for dialogue and action’ Alastair Reynolds
‘Highly recommend everybody buy Something Coming Through because it is great’ Pat Cadigan
‘McAuley’s latest is smart, it’s challenging, and as an exploration of the social consequences of sudden science fictional change, it’s very impressive indeed’ SFX
Now we want to know what you think. We have 25 copies of Something Coming Through to give away for review. You can read an extract now and request a review copy.
Who we think will love this book: Fans of SF, fans of really big robots, fans of dystopia, YA and crossover readers
Why we think you’ll love this book: Robots. Really big robots. An epic, sweeping plot and some kick-ass teen heroes.
Three years ago, Earth was conquered by a force of robots from a distant world. They have one rule: STAY IN YOUR HOMES. Step outside and you get one warning before you’re vaporised by a massive robot Sentry, or a crawling Sniper, or a flying Drone.
But Sean Flynn is convinced that his father – an RAF pilot who fought in the war – is still alive. And when he and his gang figure out a way to break the robots’ curfew, they begin an adventure that will pit them against the might of the ROBOT OVERLORDS.
This fast-paced, thrilling novelisation is based on the hit British film starring Sir Ben Kingsley (IRON MAN THREE), Gillian Anderson (THE X-FILES) and Callan McAuliffe (THE GREAT GATSBY).
Here’s what the critics are saying:
‘Fun, entertaining read with snappy, realistic dialogue…. a blockbuster pace that will entertain early teens upwards and sci-fi fans alike’ Following the Nerd
‘Robot Overlords is an easy read, but it’s not a light tale. Deliciously scary in all the right places, it’s a compelling book. Like all good novelisations, it adds an extra dimension to a story already told in another medium. Recommended, especially if you like giant robot-driven dystopias.’Starburst
‘Enjoyable, entertaining, and sometimes surprisingly dark, Robot Overlords: Robots Never Lie is a great read whether you’re a young adult, a young-at-heart adult, or even a miserable old man in an adult’s body (like me!)’ The Cult Den
Now we want to know what you think. We have 25 copies of Robot Overlords to give away for review. Start reading an extract and request a review copy
Who we think will love this book: Fans of supernatural crime, fans of Dark Fantasy, fans of fantasy, fans of thrillers and fans of crossover novels.
Why we think you’ll love this book: TWO WORDS: Charlaine Harris. Need another two words? MR. SNUGGLES. But we digress, let’s start at the beginning.
Welcome to Midnight, the small town with a big secret. Charlaine Harris is back with a brand new series. This Spring, discover a new cast of characters (and some old favourites) as we move from Bon Temps to Midnight, Texas. Filled with Charlaine Harris’ signature warmth and humour, Midnight is the perfect place to visit on a book vacation. Murder, magic and Mr. Snuggles.
Here’s what critics have to say about this thrilling new series:
‘Promising start to a new series…once you’ve entered, you’ll never leave’ Sci-Fi Now
‘All of Harris’ trademarks are present – charm and wit, pacy storytelling and likeable characters’We Love This Book
‘If you have read anything by Charlaine Harris I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. If you haven’t read anything by Charlaine Harris, then Midnight Crossroad might be the book to get you started’ Fantasy Book Review
Now we want to know what you think. We have 25 copies of Midnight Crossroad to give away for review.
Who we think will love this book: Fans of space opera, fans of SF, fans of brilliant multi-generational stories.
Why we think you will love this book: This is epic space opera from the master of the genre. Enough said.
Two extraordinary characters, the greatest mysteries of our universe and a dangerous mission. This is the brand new novel by Alastair Reynolds and there is so much to love.
Two perilous journeys have our characters venturing into the unknown … and if they can uncover the secret to faster-than-light travel then new worlds will be at our fingertips. But innovation and progress are not always embraced by everyone. There is a saboteur at work as different factions disagree about the best way to move forward…
Now we want to hear what you think! We have 25 copies of Poseidon’s Wake to give away for review. You can read an extract or request a review copy.
Who we think will love this book: Fans of SF, fans of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, fans of EVE Online
Why we think you’ll love this book: Epic adventure, colossal ships, vast battles and unimaginable challenges (what’s not to love?).
They left Sol in two great ships, carrying with them the last hope for humankind. Destined for different stars, their mission was to ensure the survival of our species. One ship was never heard from again. Decades later, the other arrived at a lifeless world, where the survivors learned that Earth was lost not to famine, but to an alien species determined to eradicate humans from existence. We’ve got chills.
The Tabit Genesis isn’t out in bookshops until 28th May and we want you to read it first!
We have 20 copies of The Tabit Genesis to give away for review. You can start reading the extract or request a review copy.
Living Tomorrow features creative, thought-provoking visions of the future shaped by environmental and biological science and technology, crafted by young writers ages 13-25 from across the United States and worldwide.The volume also features an essay from technology theorist Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of the book The Distraction Addiction, and interviews with speculative fiction authors Brenda Cooper and Vandana Singh.Living Tomorrow is published by the Center for Science and the Imagination, Intel’s Tomorrow Project, and the Society for Science & the Public, and is free to read and share.
A collection of stories exploring dystopian futures where technology and society have run amok. The volume features an essay from author and technologist Ramez Naam, an interview with legendary science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson, and visual art from ASU master of fine arts students and graduates Haylee Bolinger, Bobby Zokaites, Eli McGlothern and AJ Nafziger.
This collection features stories from the ten winners of our “The Future: Powered by Fiction” competition alongside an essay from Intel futurist Brian David Johnson, an interview with Bryan Walsh, foreign editor atTime magazine, and an original piece of art from ASU master of fine arts student AJ Nafziger.
BEST HORROR OF THE YEAR VOLUME 4 BY ELLEN DATLOW IS AVAILABLE FOR $1.99!
The first three volumes of The Best Horror of the Year have been widely praised for their quality, variety, and comprehensiveness.With tales from Laird Barron, Stephen King, John Langan, Peter Straub, and many others, and featuring Datlow’s comprehensive overview of the year in horror, now, more than ever, The Best Horror of the Year provides… read more
MORE IN THE BEST HORROR SERIES
AN IMPRINT OF
Ediciones Ubikness se complace en anunciar el lanzamiento oficial del libro: “12 grados de latitud norte – Antología de Ciencia Ficción Venezolana”.
Esta obra ha sido la culminación de un largo esfuerzo mancomunado de autores, artistas y editores venezolanos, embarcados en un proceso de búsqueda y aprendizaje en el mundo editorial de papel, abarcando un período de preparación de varios años.
Con ilustración de portada de Juan Raffo, la antología “12 grados de latitud norte” consta de ocho relatos de Ciencia Ficción de autores venezolanos. José Antonio De Córdova, Ronald Delgado, Félix Díaz, Carlos Martínez, José Luis Palacios, Ana Teresa Rodríguez, Enza Scalici y José Urriola, nos muestran sus visiones sobre el futuro. Nos presentan una Venezuela tras el prisma catalizador del tiempo y el espacio. Ricos universos donde Caracas es asediada por los marcianos, el ser humano ha pisado las lunas de Júpiter, jóvenes de Guayana visitan las colonias en la luna, un estado mundial controla los recursos hídricos del planeta, la inteligencia artificial alcanza las cotas de la emocionalidad, la nueva revolución de la genética ocurre en la UCV, el hombre se hace dios y las luchas por la libertad tienen ecos de epopeya bíblica. Historias de ciencia y futuro, historias de la imaginación de lo que se escribe en la actualidad en la literatura de Ciencia Ficción venezolana.
Adicionalmente, la obra cuenta con un extenso recuento del desarrollo de la literatura de Ciencia Ficción y Fantasía en Venezuela, de la pluma de uno de los decanos de estos géneros en el país: el escritor Jorge De Abreu.
Así, hoy los lectores aficionados del género pueden disfrutar de una antología de ciencia ficción venezolana, una rara cosecha criolla, disponible hoy en casi todo el mundo gracias a su venta y distribución en línea, mediante la empresa Amazon y sus subsidiarias en América, Europa y Asia.
Ediciones Ubikness es el brazo editorial de la Asociación Venezolana de Ciencia Ficción y Fantasía (www.avcff.org), una asociación sin fines de lucro cuyo objetivo principal es promover el desarrollo de estos géneros en español y, en particular, Venezuela.
“An intriguing anthology of essays…fascinating …academics and readers who enjoy Gaiman’s books will appreciate the care put into this impressive collection.”
1. A Calculus of Color: The Integration of Baseball’s American League
In 1947, as the integration of Major League Baseball began, the once-daring American League had grown reactionary, unwilling to confront postwar challenges—population shifts, labor issues and, above all, racial integration. The league had matured in the Jim Crow era, when northern cities responded to the Great Migration by restricting black access to housing, transportation, accommodations and entertainment, while blacks created their own institutions, including baseball’s Negro Leagues.As the political climate changed and some major league teams realized the necessity of integration, the American League proved painfully reluctant. With the exception of the Cleveland Indians, integration was slow and often ineffective. This book examines the integration of baseball—widely viewed as a triumph—through the experiences of the American League and finds only a limited shift in racial values. The teams accepted few black players and made no effort to alter management structures, and organized baseball remained an institution governed by tradition-bound owners.
“The author slams a home run in dealing with racism in baseball and the larger picture of American life… McGregor’s account makes for a compelling read. A best sports book of 2015, and one that will stand the test of time.“
1. The Bundy Murders: A Comprehensive History League
Theodore Bundy was one of the more infamous, and flamboyant, American serial killers on record, and his story is a complex mix of psychopathology, criminal investigation, and the U.S. legal system.
This in-depth examination of Bundy’s life and his killing spree that totaled dozens of victims is drawn from legal transcripts, correspondence and interviews with detectives and prosecutors. Using these sources, new information on several murders is unveiled. The biography follows Bundy from his broken family background to his execution in the electric chair.
The New York Times has a lifestyle piece about Ron Maxwell, a Rocky Horror Picture Show cast member who has been doing the Time Warp, Again, since 1979. A Lifestyle piece about a Rocky cast member? Boy how things have changed! (The NY Times has a partial paywall.) File 770 brings an article by Irving […]