Like God and Robert Heinlein intended…

July 5, 2012

Masten Space Systems in the Mojave is working on vertical takeoff and landing suborbital rockets. Yesterday they flew to 444 meters.

I swear the landing looks like the launch run backward. That’s smooth!

And the post title? EDIT to correct original post: As Dr. Arlan Andrews, Sr.,  has indicated in the comments, it was he who coined the phrase, talking about rockets that landed vertically. My apologies to Dr. Andrews for the misquote. Apparently the June 1993 issue of  ANALOG magazine is still available from one seller, used, on Amazon at this link. In it you will find Dr. Andrews’ article, “Single Stage to Infinity!”



  1. Not Pournelle, but me, Arlan Andrews, ANALOG, June 1993.

    • Thank you! The phrase always stuck in my head, and I must have read your article. Back then I read ANALOG consistently. My sincere apologies and thanks for setting me straight!I appreciate you taking the time to mention it on my little blog here. I may have seen Dr. Andrews’ article, “Halfway to Infinity!” in the June 1993 ANALOG – but I will also dig out my copy of “Halfway to Anywhere,” by G. Harry Stine. I wonder if he might have quoted you as well. Again, thank you – much appreciated!

  2. Pournelle used the phrase in a talk at the 1993 Woldcon. I was there. He was showing a video of the DC-X and said (from memory here) :
    That my friends is a SPACESHIP! And she lands like God and Robert A. Heinlein intended, on her jets. And we are going to fly her with test pilots, not astronaughts.

    When a test pilot dies, you name a street at Edwards after him and move on, when an atronaught dies it’s a national disaster and you delay your whole space program for 2 years…

    Jerry never claimed to have come up with the phrase (he was quoting Arlan) but since he said it in front of a room of several thousand people everyone associates it with him.

  3. Not Jerry Pournelle, but me, Arlan Andrews, Sr., in the June 1993 ANALOG article, “Singke Stage to Infinity!”

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