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The rocket farm

Posted by: Lourens - Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:45 am
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The rocket farm 
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Post The rocket farm   Posted on: Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:45 am
Early 21st century space flight in the American South.

Falcon 9 rocket, SpaceX, Inc., circa 2012. Photographer unknown.

Where 20th century space flight was characterised by great rockets, national heroes and massive infrastructure, the Space Age took a decidedly different turn in the next one hundred years. Faced with dwindling resources, global change and economic turmoil as well as unprecedented technological development, the space industry evolved into a much more low-key affair.

In this remarkable photograph, recently discovered in the SpaceX company archives, we see a rocket that is about to fly off to the former International Space Station, sitting in what appears to be a dusty field in Texas. There's a dilapidated wooden shed on the left, and what could be the base of an old windmill converted into a lightning protection tower on the right. The rocket itself is surrounded by some pipes, perhaps leftovers from an oil derrick that was here previously. It is held up by a simple welded structure that was likely produced on-site. In the background, the sky is a dark grey and it looks like there may be rain today, a rare event in the dustbowl years of the 2010s.

The fate of this particular rocket is unclear, but it is known that SpaceX had a string of successful commercial rocket launches in the 2010s, culminating in the development of reusable launchers and, ultimately, the dawn of the Second Space Age in the 2060s.

"The Dawn of Human Space Flight - An Illustrated History", P. Wade, Tranquillity Base Memorial Park Press, 2089.

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