TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.



Showing posts with label Elon Musk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elon Musk. Show all posts

Monday, October 28, 2019

Materialist Rhetoric: The Cosmic Indifference of Alien AI Gods


From Alan Moore's Lovecraftian comic, Providence. Image Source: Xataka.

This week, I am selecting vocabulary used by materialists to reveal their long game. Materialism here refers loosely to those who subscribe to secular and scientific values, that is, those who explore the world in the strictly physical sense.

I deconstruct some materialist values here, not to write an anti-scientific or technophobic screed, but to consider alternative approaches toward science and technology. I mean to show here that what we think of as 'rationalism,' 'secularism,' 'materialism,' 'science,' and 'technology' are social constructions, grounded in obsolete, 19th and 20th century modernist concepts of order and madness. I will discuss this historical background in future posts.

Can we build AI without losing control over it? | Sam Harris (19 October 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

In recent years, several tech leaders have come forward to predict the rise of artificial intelligence. The prediction rests on a definition of intelligence as 'information processing' and 'interactivity,' about which I have blogged here. Developers consider AI 'goal-setting' to be the same thing as human dreaming. The AI vocabulary projects machine processes onto human cognition, and removes the extra-sensory, the anti-materialistic, or any magical thinking that is otherwise undefined in physical terms.

If one adheres to this set of ideas, one removes emotional, moral and ethical concerns from intelligence. One ignores non-linear, lateral, interstitial, and other undefinable elements that are part of the purely human, non-mechanical experience. (Thanks to -D.)

Materialist Proposition 1: Progress is Worship, Expressed through Physical Augmentation of Natural Ability

Quantum Computers - An Altar To An 'Alien god'! Doorway To Other Dimensions And Image Of The Beast! (2 February 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Tech leaders like Geordie Rose, father of marketed quantum computers, adhere to a 19th century vision of 'progress.' They believe that history is an upward story of human and scientific expansion. We must develop bodies, societies and systems which transcend the limits of biology.

ideacity 2019 - Geordie Rose - Synthetic Minds, Cooperation and the Future of Humanity (21 June 2019). Video Source: Youtube.

In this view, the brain is a machine, which we will decode, mechanize and develop with the help of artificial intelligence. Because of its independent functions and the symbiotic assistance it will provide during our brain upgrades, the AI will appear to us like an alien god. Technologists admit this god will destroy our humanity, but that is acceptable, because the god will help one nation get ahead of another in the geopolitical balance of power. That, or the god will cure cancer.

Despite their supposed adherence to logical explanations, these technologists justify themselves through glib asides. They never ask if there is an alternative to 19th century scientific progress. They do not reflect on whether their political biases pose problems for their planning. They never consider whether the nation-state is a dated idea. They never refer to the evolutionary purpose which cancer may serve, about which I have blogged, here and here. They certainly never ask (at least publicly) if there are extra-physical aspects of human cognition, which cannot be simulated. It does not matter if the consequences of technologists' blind spots will result in species-wide slavery. In fact, that is the expected result.

The real question, then, concerns the developers' ambitions. A very small number of humans aim to control the machines that will control the bulk of humankind. XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis remarked:
"Today, a group of 20 individuals empowered by the exponential growing technologies of AI and robotics and computers and networks and eventually nanotechnology can do what only nation states could have done before."
These humans will act, based on their limited intelligence and values. If the story of the AI as alien god is really a story about the ambitions of a tiny group of tech moguls and billionaires, we should identify the real beliefs of this group.

Monday, September 16, 2019

What's Left Over? Merge with the Demon


Beware the implantation of a synthetic conscience, crafted by others. Image Source: pinterest.

I have a theory that our religions mirror our levels of technology. This post continues my What's Left Over? series, which describes two contending spiritual stances - the materialist and the anti-materialist - which are appearing in response to the Technological Revolution.

Science and technology refer to ways of doing, while the arts and theology describe ways of being. Neither can exist without the other. Ideally, they are used in balance. But the burgeoning technocracy thrives on doing; it pretends to support the arts and organic freedoms, while actually discouraging them. As a result, technologists have to build simulated versions of being to make up for the shortfall. Their simulacra of moral sensibilities are poor substitutes for the true human love of nature and mystery.

Left unfettered, technocrats will construct your personality and life from the outside in. And while their creed is superficially moral and progressive, it is grossly materialist, anti-human and anti-humane.

If you thought corporations and institutions were already corrupt, and rewarded the worst aspects of your nature and exploited your best instincts against you, imagine what it will be like inside the corporatist technocracy, where their externalized conscience will come from a chip, embedded in your brain and communicating with your cerebral cortex by way of a neural interlace.

This fake, mechanized, embedded chip conscience is the foundation stone of what the people at The Boiler Room podcast call the "technocratic dictatorship." Elon Musk is its leading proponent.

Musk was once Silicon Valley's space cowboy and he had a romantic heart. In a 2010 interview, his ex-first-wife Justine struggled with the loss of Musk's original visionary, who became her own "private Alexander the Great." In 2016, he wasn't completely gone. He named one of his droneships, 'Of Course I Still Love You.'

In 2014, Musk warned against the advent of artificial intelligence as "summoning the demon." Now a shadow of his former self, in July of this year he stammered out his new agenda, a brain-chip interface called Neuralink. Neuralink will allow us to merge with the demon and to "stay one step ahead" of it. This is supposedly the only way to survive the coming Singularity.

Putting a Chip in Your Brain Will Not Make You a Superhero (or a god) (7 August 2019). Video Source: Youtube.


See all posts in the What's Left Over? series on materialism and anti-materialism in technological advancement.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Space and Struggle to Become Responsible


Vice President Pence Unveils U.S. Space Force Plans (C-SPAN) (9 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

The news is full of space headlines. On 9 August, the American Vice President Mike Pence announced that the United States will build a sixth branch of its armed forces, a "space force" to "prepare for the next battlefield." The full statement is here.

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Artificial Intelligence Nemesis


Image Source: thebodhitrees.

The creation of AI is a story of humanity. It will end where it begins, with a nemesis that will test humankind. This is because human beings grapple with inner knowing on ever more profound levels, driven by self-engineered crises.

Artificial Intelligence: The Nemesis in the Mirror

Anonymous - This Shocking Footage Should Worry You! (2018-2019) (13 January 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

AI is a big mirror. As Google's Cloud Lead Dr. Fei-Fei Li stated, AI began with the question, "Can machines think?" Engineers began building machines to mimic human thinking, to reason, see, hear, think, move around, manipulate. That was AI's foundational dream. In the 1980s, machine learning was born, followed by deep learning, which is rooted in neuroscience. This young discipline is set to explode, due to the exploitation of big data, harvested from around the globe. Thus, no matter how the machines end up evolving, it is worth asking now what we are doing with AI and why we doing it. There are unconscious human impulses that are informing AI design.

Find your museum Doppelgänger: some people have found themselves in paintings at art museums. Image Source: Kottke / My Modern Met / Davidurbon.

This mirror will test a psychological mode which human beings have used to build, change, create: the obsession with the nemesis, the other, the twin, the Doppelgänger.

The nemesis psychological complex works by externalizing something we cannot manage inside our own natures. Once the thing is externalized, we interact with it to create new ways of understanding and operating in the world. One of my posts, I Will Teach You Infinities, described how the nemesis complex informed the structure of language, because language progressively builds away from the starting point of selfhood, or 'I.'

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Defend the Right to Repair


Image Source: LA Times (Hat tip: The Outer Light).

The tech giants have moved one step closer toward criminalizing anyone who refurbishes or recycles old electronics. The hypocrisy of Silicon Valley companies came into sharp relief as a US federal appeals court in Miami ruled to imprison a tech waste e-cycler on 11 April 2018.



HLN LIVE Recycler Eric Lundgren - Stands Up For Repair and Recycling! (2 May 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Little Meteorite Earthquakes


Image Source: Sky News.

The heavens are visiting. This eerie photo was taken from a dashcam in Michigan on 16 January 2018 at 8:08 p.m. The impact of the one-tonne space rock caused a 2.0 earthquake. The USGS report on the meteorite is here.

Never wary, the Internet quickly plunged into Steven Spielberg territory, with rumours about the Hawaii and Japanese missile scares, Chinese laser weapons, spy satellite launches (Elon Musk's Falcon 9 launch of the mysterious Zuma being only the most prominent of these), space junk, and most outlandishly, secret alien space wars.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

SpaceX: Not an Explosion


SpaceX's Falcon 9 on fire in Florida today. Image Source: Ahomka FM.

Sadly, SpaceX's Falcon 9 exploded today on the launchpad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. The Falcon 9, which I have discussed here, is the great hope of company founder, Elon Musk. Report UK:
"In a statement, the company blamed the blast on 'an anomaly' and said no-one had been injured. It said the rocket's payload, a satellite due to be launched on Saturday, was also destroyed. ... The Falcon-9 booster is designed to return to Earth and land on a floating platform. SpaceX is seeking to create a new era of reusable rockets and affordable private space travel and has used its Falcon-9 rocket to take supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). In December last year, the California-based company successfully landed a Falcon-9 back on Earth after a mission – a first in rocketry. It went on to recover five more boosters, with most of them touching down on an ocean platform. The idea is to re-fly these rockets, and the first such 'second hand' vehicle is scheduled to launch in October. SpaceX is run out of Hawthorne near Los Angeles by Elon Musk, who made his fortune with internet companies. As well as being the rocket company”s CEO, he also heads up the Tesla electric car company."
The lost rocket cost USD $62 million and Musk's companies took a stock hit of almost USD $400 million; in one day, Musk's personal loss on his shares was USD $350 million. The satellite on the rocket, Amos-6would have enabled Facebook and Eutelsat to provide connectivity to entrepreneurs in Africa, a subject I will cover in a later post.



SpaceX failed Falcon 9 launch (1 September 2016). Musk called the ball of fire "not an explosion." Video Source: Youtube.

See all my posts on SpaceX.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

SpaceX: Of Course I Still Love You


Falcon 9 launches with the Thai THAICOM 8 satellite (27 May 2016).

The pride of Elon Musk's private SpaceX spacecraft stable is the Falcon 9. The Falcon 9, first launched on 4 June 2010, is a reusable heavy launch lift vehicle, so named because it is powered by nine SpaceX Merlin 1C rocket engines. It has a little free-flying spacecraft crew capsule, the Dragon, attached at the top.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Interview: Heidi Hecht, Mars One Candidate


Panorama under a pink sky at the NASA Mars Pathfinder landing site, 12 October 1998. Image Source: Dr. Timothy Parker / JPL / NASA.

At some point between the moon landing and Survivor, space colonization became a media event about amateur astronauts. In the rush to have humans land on Mars, the first trip will likely be one way only (see here and here) - and fully televised.

A manned Mars mission is vastly expensive and technologically demanding. The list of manned missions which never materialized is long. Telepresence proposals involved astronauts reaching Mars and studying the planet only from orbit.  NASA has a manned Mars mission scheduled for around 2030. But Mars One, a Dutch non-profit co-founded by Gen Xers Bas Lansdorp and Arno Wielders, aims to beat them to the punch, sending its first four-person team by 2025, with five more four-colonist teams to follow by 2035.

Terraforming Mars is expected to take one thousand years. Image Source: ScienceBlogs.

Mars One sent out a global recruitment call from 22 April 2013 until 31 August 2013. Out of 200,000 applicants, 705 candidates remain in the Mars One selection pool. Final selection is expected by July 2015. By now, older applicants have already withdrawn. Most applicants are members of Generation Y: they are largely under the age of 36 and well educated. Of the 705 pre-interview candidates, 313 are from the Americas; 187 are from Europe; 136 hail from Asia; 41 come from Africa; and 28 are from Oceania.

Mars One organizers plan to fund the project by covering the candidates' Round 3 selection, training, preparation and departure in the biggest reality TV and Internet spectacle in the history of modern media. The show will have to raise USD $6 billion. Mars One takes its media model from the Olympics, which raised USD $8 billion between 2009 and 2011. Lionsgate was initially slated to produce the show. Those production rights have now passed to Darlow Smithson Productions, whose strengths lie in "factual storytelling to an international audience." Darlow Smithson is owned by the unfortunately homophonously-named company, Endemol (end 'em all). Wiki: "Endemol created and runs reality and talent game show franchises worldwide, including Big Brother, Deal or No Deal, Wipeout, The Money Drop, and Your Face Sounds Familiar."

Today, Histories of Things to Come is pleased to interview Mars One candidate, Heidi Hecht, about her application to travel to Mars. Heidi told me:
"My main attraction to Mars One is that it’s giving ordinary people a chance to prove they have what it takes to handle space work and especially the colonization of other worlds. If it works out, it’ll show that space travel doesn’t have to be just for rich people paying for rides or an elite few who do it professionally. Sure, it’s hazardous, but have you ever tried to cross the street in New York City? It’s about being willing to choose what I’m risking my life for."
Heidi studied computer networking and she is also a blogger. Her blog, Nothing in Particular, covers her Mars One experience here. She has a great post on time-keeping on Mars, which mentions the Mars watch crafted by master watchmaker, Garo Anserlian; she also discusses the Martian year, marked by the signs of the Zodiac, which was the basis of the Martian Darian calendar.

Mars One habitat. Image Source: NBC.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cybermoney and the Age of Immaterialism


Image Source: Telegraph.

Last week, CNN and other media outlets ran a little story about a PayPal error, wherein a minor eBay seller found his PayPal account credited with USD $92 quadrillion:
When Chris Reynolds opened his June PayPal e-mail statement, something was off. The Pennsylvania PR executive's account balance had swelled to a whopping $92,233,720,368,547,800.
That's $92 QUADRILLION (and change).
Money that would make Reynolds -- who also sells auto parts on eBay in his spare time -- the richest man in the world by a long shot.
Rich, as in more than a million times richer than Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim. And he's worth $67 billion.
Oh, if only.
"It's a curious thing. I don't know, maybe someone was having fun," Reynolds said.
So he logged online, and reality bit back. His account balance read $0. The correct amount.
PayPal admitted the error and offered to donate an unspecified amount of money to a cause of Reynolds' choice.
"This is obviously an error and we appreciate that Mr. Reynolds understood this was the case," PayPal said in a statement.
Before this incident, the most Reynolds ever made on PayPal was "a little over $1,000" selling a set of vintage BMW tires on eBay.
So what would the would-be quadrillionaire have done with all that cash? "I probably would have paid down the national debt," he said.
Image Source: CNN.

In February of 2013, there was an equally curious article about PayPal at the neoconservative Website, World Net Daily (WND). The article was written by Jerome Corsi, a Boomer conspiracy theorist who has been accused of bending facts in his criticisms of the Democrats. The source is odd, and so is the report:
A former employee of one of the world’s largest international banks who has provided WND with more than 1,000 pages of evidence alleges the Internet giant PayPal and American Express are implicated in an international money-laundering scheme involving hundreds of billions of dollars. The whistleblower, John Cruz, was a relationship manager in the southern New York region for the London-based global bank HSBC.
“I found many accounts where PayPal and American Express were used as conduits through which hundreds of thousands of dollars were deposited or withdrawn from HSBC customer accounts in a pattern of suspicious transactions that should have been reported to legal authorities under various banking statutes, including the Patriot Act,” Cruz told WND. Neither PayPal nor American Express responded to WND email and telephone requests for comment.
Image Source: Socialist Unity.

A piece on HuffPo from May 2011 remarked that prepaid credit cards are commonly used to launder drug money and are reloaded with PayPal and similar services:
No one knows how big a role the cards play in moving the more than $20 billion in drug earnings that U.S. authorities estimate crosses from the U.S. to Mexico annually. Yet while anyone crossing that border with $10,000 or more in cash must declare it, prepaid cards are legally exempt.

Visually, the cards are barely distinguishable from credit or debit cards and the most versatile let users reload them remotely without having to reveal their identity, using cash, moneygrams, PayPal and other online payment services.
Some cards can process tens of thousands of dollars a month. Just load them up in Connecticut or Texas with, say, the proceeds of cocaine sales and collect the cash in local currency from an ATM in Medellin, Colombia or elsewhere in Latin America.
"I'm not so sure we have a sophisticated understanding of how to deal with this," said Richard Stana, who oversaw a report on prepaid access for the General Accounting Office, the U.S. Congress' research arm. "It's just a whole new way of doing business."
Then there was the PayPal goes to space idea, which I mentioned in a recent post:
“As we travel through space and explore new planets, we will still need to pay for life on Earth and out there…” There is no indication that he stopped ... to ask the obvious. Explore new planets? What new planets?
What new planets, indeed? Does it matter? The sooner we stop expecting to connect with reality as far as the economy is concerned, the clearer we will be about what is happening. It is not surprising that incidents like PayPal's clerical error occur behind the scenes in financial circles. Who can say what they really signify? What are three extra zeroes, or fifteen extra zeroes, on a computer ledger? None of it is real.

This is why the conspiracy theorists' ideas about the economy are wrong. For example, to believe a potential conspiracy theory about PayPal and $92 quadrillion, you would have to be very literal-minded and assume that there was something out there worth that amount of money that needed securing. To its credit, the Silicon Valley Mercury News actually realized this. What, out there, is worth $92 quadrillion? Perhaps the most sensible of its suggestions was that with $92 quadrillion, you could buy - or create - 1.37 million Bill Gateses.

Monday, July 15, 2013

PayPal Galactic: Building Better Worlds


"Once space colonies exist, PayPal Galactic might be useful, but until then the announcement of PayPal’s new initiative appeared to primarily confuse space commercialization with space exploration." Image Source: NASA/Ames via The Space Review.

The Space Review had some sharp words to respond to PayPal's recent announcement that the latter will make their online financial transaction service available from space with the help of the non-profit SETI Institute in Mountain View, California. Writer John Hickman expects that this is a sign of coming commercialization of space exploration. More specifically, he felt he detected a libertarian, anti-statist message in reporting on this story, which he did not like:
Where would we be without our shared delusions? Perhaps no longer trapped in low Earth orbit. Physical danger, lack of funding, and legal uncertainty are widely acknowledged as obstacles to human exploration and economic development beyond Earth orbit, but the constraint imposed by ideological belief goes largely unrecognized. Evidence for this proposition is found in the news coverage of the recent announcement that PayPal would sponsor an effort to figure out how to conduct financial transactions in space. ...

In a Fox News article, Michael Roppolo quotes PayPal executive Anuj Nayal as saying, “As we travel through space and explore new planets, we will still need to pay for life on Earth and out there…” There is no indication that he stopped Nayal to ask the obvious. Explore new planets? What new planets? ...

Although it is tempting to simply dismiss all of this as the product of an endemically sycophantic business press, that explanation would overlook the ideological message for the space news audience. What we are meant to believe is that private firms managed by brilliant entrepreneurs can and will take over responsibility for human space exploration from government agencies. We will soon be touring the solar system—or is it the galaxy?—all thanks to the magic of free enterprise. ...

The problem with this particular millennial vision is that private firms do not open new frontiers. States do. Private firms profit from frontiers after they have been opened by states. The reason for this division of institutional labor is that opening a new frontier involves accepting high risk and absorbing unrecoverable cost. Businesses hate both. That’s why they wait for governments to do the heavy lifting. Mind you, if the real space frontier that lies beyond low Earth orbit is ever reopened to human exploration and opened to economic development, private investment will have an important role to play. However when humans return to the Moon and if they land on Mars for the first time, count on a state to have paid the freight. The real question is not whether but which state will be writing the check.

The persistent anti-statist message in space news coverage is therefore a puzzle. Although it is tempting to think of the reporters as shills for corporate executives, they should be credited with exercising more agency than that. More probably, reporters and the executives they quote or misquote share the same libertarian convictions. That would be harmless if it had no effect on public opinion about space policy. Unfortunately, it leaves the naïve waiting for business to do what only government will.
This argument reflects the recession-driven tension between cash-strapped government-sponsored space programs and the big money of private space initiatives. Even our future empires are up for grabs in the Millennial political debate.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Elon Musk Plans Retirement on Mars


Image Source: Wired.

Elon Musk, Gen X founder of PayPal and SpaceX, wants to retire on Mars and live as the poster boy for his next big business: colonizing Mars as a profitable venture. From a 2010 Guardian report:
The fresh-faced 39-year-old man, in a dark T-shirt and jeans, is talking about travelling to Mars. Not now, but when he's older and ready to swap life on Earth for one on the red planet. "It would be a good place to retire," he says in all seriousness. Normally, this would be the time to make one's excuses and leave the company of a lunatic. Or to smile politely and humour a space nerd's unlikely fantasies. But this man needs to be taken seriously for one compelling reason: he already has his own spaceship.
Musk is planning to fund the first round of Mars missions with his personal fortune and spend his old age building the first Mars colony, anticipated population 80,000.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mars Colonists Sought for 2023 Settlement


Image Source: Tech Cocktail.

The future is here. As in, now. The start-up Netherlands space colony group Mars One is hopping to the head of the line, past other Mars colonization projects. Their recruiting call is going out now, in the first half of this year, for Mars colonists to depart in 2023. This is a non-returning mission. You will live out the remainder of your life on the Red Planet. Training will begin immediately. The mode of transportation is the Mars One Dragon, carried by the Falcon Heavy Launch Vehicle, made by SpaceX, founded by Gen Xer Elon Musk.

The Mars One executive, co-founded by Gen X Dutch enterpreneurs Bas Lansdorp (an engineer) and Arno Wielders (a physicist), claims the whole project will be paid for by the fact that the entire process, from selection of the colonists to the launch and execution of the mission, will be carried out on Reality TV (Hat tip: Spaceports). Have a look at their names. They could go down in history.

The required attributes for colonists are pretty straightforward. You must be 18 years or older; in good physical and mental health; be resilient, adaptable and curious; have the ability to trust; and be creative and resourceful. It is projected to be the biggest media event in the history of the world. A purely private enterprise, it will bypass governments and all the 'political mumbo jumbo.' For more, go to Spaceports.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Private Spaceflight Watch: SpaceX Launches New Space Era


History has been made in the past few minutes. The launch of the commercially-made SpaceX Falcon 9 with the unmanned Dragon Capsule was successful. You can see a live feed (at the time of this posting) at the bottom of my post, here. See the Youtube video of the launch below the jump.

Welcome to the new era of private space exploration. Kate Sherrod has already written a sonnet to commemorate history being made tonight, here. Tweets and blogs cheered SpaceX on: see Stepto's blog here. Wil Wheaton tweeted: "Dear Humanity: You can do amazing things when you work hard, and you work together. Love, Wil." This is what it means to live at the turn of the Millennium: poetry written and circulated worldwide, at the very moment history turns.

2464 Dream (2010) © Chris Reccardi. Image Source: Boing Boing.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Private Spaceflight Watch: Falcon 9 Rocket [Not] Ready to Launch


BBC reports on the launch of the unmanned rocket, the SpaceX Falcon 9, scheduled this morning for 4:55 EDT (in about 50 minutes from the time of this post):
California's SpaceX company is ready to make history by sending a capsule containing half a tonne of supplies to the space station.

It will be the first time the private sector has provided such a service.

The task is usually performed by the vehicles belonging to government space agencies, such as Nasa and Esa.

The unmanned Dragon cargo ship is due to launch atop SpaceX's own Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

Controllers are targeting a time of 04:55 EDT (08:55 GMT; 09:55 BST), and despite some storms in the area in recent days, the mission team should get favourable weather conditions.

"There's no question - this is a historic flight," said SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell on the eve of the mission.

"There've been only four nations, or groups of nations, that have berthed or docked a spacecraft to the International Space Station: Europe, Russia, the United States of course, and Japan. So, we really stand in awe at having the opportunity to attempt this."
See another report at Wired and my earlier posts here and here. This test flight is known as the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Demo Flight 2, and its official emblem is below (the four-leafed clover is a nice added touch).
Image Source: Wiki.

The goal of the mission is to have the Falcon 9, with its unmanned Dragon crew vessel dock at the International Space Station with the help of the Canadarm2 and bring supplies to the ISS once it is docked. It will also bring Earth-bound cargo back home.

Artist's rendition of the expected manoeuvre whereby the Canadarm2 helps the Dragon dock at the ISS. Image Source: NASA (2008) via Wiki.

Hobby Space provides links to the live streams of this event online:
Countdown is proceeding for the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9/Dragon at 4:55 a.m. EDT (0855 GMT).


Spaceflight Now also has this Q&A with Elon Musk, a gallery of photos of the Falcon 9/Dragon rolling to the launch pad, and a gallery of photos of F9/Dragon on the pad at Complex 40.
===
Other sites with coverage, webcasts, etc. :
/-- NASA TV - starts at 3:30 am EDT
/-- SpaceX webcast starts at 4:15 am EDT (8:15 GMT)
/-- Florida Today offers coverage starting at 3:30 AM EDT.
===
Here is the Spaceflight Now webcast:

Addendum (6:45 a.m., 19 May 2012): Due to problem with the fifth engine, the launch was cancelled and will be rescheduled to May 22 or 23. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Private Spaceflight Watch: SpaceX Marks the Dawn of a New Era

The Falcon 9 at Cape Canaveral. Image Source: Fox.

Last year, when the Space Shuttles made their final flights, the Americans marked the end of an era of publicly-funded space exploration (see my posts on this here, here, here and here). This month, SpaceX, under the leadership of Gen Xer Elon Musk, picks up the baton and carries that legacy forward.

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled today to launch the first private mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida to the International Space Station. This historic, unmanned flight is delayed, likely until May 19.

A test crew, a mix of NASA and SpaceX personnel, recently evaluated SpaceX's Dragon crew capsule; for details, see the SpaceX Website. For a gallery on SpaceX's ISS mission and NASA contracts, go here.

Musk spent his entire private fortune on the earlier parts of this project, and saw it through some narrow spots. This launch is another of these moments. If it succeeds, the Americans will mark the beginning of a new era when private companies, rather than governments, challenge the 'final frontier.'

Artist’s rendition of the Dragon spacecraft docking at the International Space Station. Image Source: SpaceX.

See all my posts on Space Exploration.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

End of an Era: Discovery's Last Launch Today

NASA Tribute to Discovery with the insignia of all her missions.  Image Source: Wiki.

A spacecraft that has been vitally important to the history of human exploration is about to be retired.  Up to the last minute, it wasn't clear if the Space Shuttle Discovery would make her launch today.  First flown in 1984, this will be her 39th and final mission.  The Shuttle retires amid discussion that NASA's space program is giving way to private space firms, such as Elon Musk's SpaceX.  According to The Space Review, other companies in the running for significant commercial participation in the American space program are Boeing, Orbital Sciences Corporation, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and United Launch Alliance (ULA).

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Space Colonization and its Historical Precedents 2



Martian Sunset. Captured by the Rover Spirit on May 19, 2005.  NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell.

Count James C. McLane III among the enthusiasts who want to colonize Mars - and do it quickly!  Over at The Space Review, the former NASA engineer has just written an article in which he strongly advocates one-way manned missions to Mars, just to ensure that the United States achieves the milestone of sending humans to the Red Planet first.  But to start, this will be a colony of one.  One cosmonaut, one-way.  Hmmm.  It is a debate that relies heavily on realities and clichés from colonial history.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Private Spaceflight Watch: SpaceX launches Falcon 9 Rocket

SpaceX Dragon Crew Capsule.

Yesterday SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation), the private spaceflight development company founded by Paypal and Tesla Motors co-founder Elon Musk, successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit at 2:50 pm EST.  This historic event clears the way for serious private space exploration, since Falcon 9 is the same launch system that SpaceX plans to use to take crews and cargo into Earth orbit on its Dragon spacecraft.