I’m Anthony Colangelo.

I write frequently at Main Engine Cut Off and, occasionally, right here.

Formerly: A List Apart and Cognition.

Firefly’s Test Stand Fire

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It’s important to remember that if you’ve got hardware on a test stand that can create fire—the good or the bad kind—you’re ahead of an extraordinarily large portion of all people who have ever tried to go to space.

The Completely Unsuprising Demise of XS-1

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A DARPA launch project, contracted out to Boeing, in the year 2020—I don’t know many people who would have bet on XS-1 panning out. And sure enough, less than three years after the award, Boeing has officially dropped out. I’m quite happy with how my thoughts on XS-1 have held up, three years later.

Thanks to December Patrons

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Very special thanks to the 360 of you out there supporting Main Engine Cut Off on Patreon for the month of December. MECO is entirely listener- and reader-supported, so your support keeps this blog and podcast going, growing, and improving, and most importantly, it keeps it independent.

Downlink 2.0: Custom Views of Earth

Downlink — Himawari Crop MacBook Pro

It’s been a few months since I launched Downlink, and since then I’ve put out a few nice updates—better handling of Spaces, multiple displays, and so on. But there was one big feature on my list that I’m happy to announce is now available: custom views of Earth!

Mission Shakti, 9 Months Later

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Microsat-R was intercepted at an altitude of ~300 kilometers, and there is still debris reaching 1,400 kilometers higher (and 8 other pieces 700 kilometers higher). Those pieces regularly pass through the orbital regimes of the ISS, low-orbiting weather satellites, nearly all satellites in sun-synchronous orbits, and a ton of LEO communications satellites.

The Firefly Saga

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Doug Messier has a hell of a read over on Parabolic Arc about the Firefly saga over the last three years. We’ve heard bits and pieces of this before, but there’s a ton in here about investors, some Vulcan (Stratolaunch) involvement I had not heard previously, and a bunch of accusations in both directions.

Podcasting Setup, 2019 Edition


I’ve been podcasting for a few years now. I’m 143 episodes into Main Engine Cut Off, 25 episodes into Off-Nominal with my friend Jake Robins, and had some past shows that were much too short-lived. Occasionally I’ll have people ask about my setup, so I figured I should probably post it somewhere for posterity.