Think of it as methods of reaching extreme altitudes…and attitudes.

The SpaceX Starship prototype departed the company’s Boca Chica facility near Brownsville, Texas on February 2. After carrying out a ballistic ballet of maneuvers, the Serial Number 9 (SN9) rocket crashed into the ground and exploded after roughly six minutes and 26 seconds of flight.

Neighborhood racket 

Chalk talk in 1924: Robert Goddard at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Credit: NASA

Recall the plight of rocketeer Robert Goddard. He published in 1919 his classic treatise, A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes.

A decade later, on July 17, 1929, Goddard launched an 11-foot, 35-pound rocket with reporters at the scene.

Reaching an apogee of 80 feet, the rocket crash landed 171 feet away, its gasoline tank exploding when it hit. The resulting racket was heard two miles away with police summoned to the scene. Goddard considered the test a success, but not the newspapers.

A local Worcester, Massachusetts newspaper anointed the story with the headline: “Moon Rocket Misses Target by 238,799 1/2 Miles!”

Such is progress.

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