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I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.


There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

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5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
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Ariane-6’s core stage completes full 7 minute engine test

Engineers yesterday successfully completed a two-hour dress rehearsal countdown and fueling of an Ariane-6 first stage followed by a full seven minute engine burn, simulating what that stage would do during a launch.

The test took place on Ariane-6’s launchpad in French Guiana.

The November 23 test sequence was run the same way as the previous ones, with a launch sequence and final countdown representative of a launch, including removal of the mobile gantry and filling the launcher’s upper and core stage tanks with liquid hydrogen (-253° Celsius) and liquid oxygen (-183° Celsius). The test ended with the ignition of the core stage Vulcain 2.1 engine, followed by more than 7 minutes of stabilized operation covering the entire core stage flight phase. All functional aspects of Ariane 6’s core stage during the flight phase were tested.

According to the European Space Agency, only one more engine test of the Ariane-6’s upper stage remains before the spring launch can be attempted, and that engine test is planned for next month in Germany.

With the retirement of the Ariane-5 rocket in July, Europe has had no large rocket to launch payloads. Originally Ariane-6’s first launches were supposed to be in parallel with Ariane-5’s last launches, but its development is four years behind schedule.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News

One comment

  • Jay

    And with all this development and testing, they still refuse to embrace reusability. Is the ESA following NASA’s example of a major jobs program with a launch every so often?

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