VTOL Rocket Roundup

The Experimental Delta Clipper (DC-X) of the 1990s was canceled before it ever made it into space.

The Rotary Rocket Company’s incredibly innovative Roton was designed to land with helicopter blades instead of a parachute or a landing rocket. After the collapse of the small telecommunications satellite market in 1999 the company went out of business without ever building their unique spinning aerospike main engine; without a clear mission, investors were unwilling to fund the various exotic technologies that the company was successfully pioneering.

In 2013 SpaceX’s series of “grasshopper tests” picked up where the DC-X left off.

But SpaceX’s plan to land their Falcon 9 lifter on a seagoing barge has not yet succeeded.

And bringing us up to date, Blue Origin landed the New Shepard on the 23rd. I love the final replay of the landing sequence!

US Mononoke subtitles disappoint

The original 2000 Miramax/Disney [DVD] release […] included a nice English subtitle track based on the original Japanese dialogue (done by Stephen Albert and Haruyo Moriyoshi). Unfortunately, that track is not on board this set. All the praise and accolades I can heap upon this new Blu-ray’s video and audio elements are completely undone simply because these English subtitles are a disaster.


Robert Heinlein’s classic short story -All You Zombies- is being adapted into a movie titled Predestination, starring Ethan Hawke.

Reading the smart, tightly plotted, but sadly dated* Heinlein story before going to see the movie will unavoidably damage your enjoyment of the film. And don’t let anyone tell you what it’s about, either.

The only information that can’t ruin it for you is this: It’s about time travel. “Zombies” is a metaphor. There are no undead corpses in the story, and should be none in the film. Unless Peter Jackson is somehow involved, I suppose, in which case there will probably be attractive female zombies with hang gliders and large rubber feet.

* It was written in 1958, and Heinlein’s attitudes towards women were formed considerably earlier.