Torn’s Science, Technology, & Science Fiction 24–30 April 2023

Short science fiction by Torn MacAlester



See­ing SpaceX’s pro­to­type star­ship explode after launch remind­ed me of the neces­si­ty of redun­dan­cy in launch sys­tems.  I think back 10 years when over a short time span when Orbital, SpaceX, and Roscos­mos all had anom­alies with their car­go mis­sions bound for the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion.  With­out redun­dan­cy in capa­bil­i­ty, a launch fail­ure in an oper­a­tional sys­tem would have risked the ISS being abandoned.

Now that Moon mis­sions are around the cor­ner, we are remind­ed that redun­dan­cy will be essen­tial to keep explor­ing. Right now, there are four sys­tems that usable for human space flight to the Moon, SLS, Fal­con Heavy, Long March 9, and Star­ship.  So far, none of them have han­dled crews. We’ll have to wait a while for these sys­tems to mature.

Starship Test Launch

Artemis 1 (SLS)  Launch

NASA Administrator Comments

This week’s discord chat

  • Week of Apr 30 2023 [30th April at 1 PM EDT (6 PM GMT), 3rd May at 9 PM EDT (6th 2AM GMT)] 
    • Redun­dan­cy in technology

Currently Reading



The Space Envi­ron­ment: Impli­ca­tions for Space­craft Design — Revised and Expand­ed Edi­tion by Alan C. Tribble

Lunar Source­book: a Users Guide to the Moon edit­ed by Grant H. Heiken, David T. Van­i­man, and Bevan M. French


Recently Read

2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke

Destination—Death by Wilber S. Peacock

The New Fron­tiers Series, Book One: The Ship by Jack L. Knapp


Thunder Moon Tussle by Torn MacAlester available on

Thunder Moon Tussle Trailer

A new novel by Torn MacAlester

The long awaited sequel to Thunder Moon Tussle:

Mask of the Joyful Moon

Coming Soon

Thunder Moon Tussle: A Near Future Science Fiction Novel by Torn MacAlester

In the days of grant dri­ven sci­ence, it is nice to see the lone inde­pen­dent researcher still mak­ing a con­tri­bu­tion. Imag­ine tak­ing this far into the future while check­ing out this arti­cle from the Lunar and Plan­e­tary Institute.

This Week’s Short Fiction by Torn MacAlester

This week’s short fic­tion is the short sto­ry Mor­gan’s Road:

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