The competition heats up: Arianespace announced yesterday that it has won two new commercial launch contracts, and will aim in 2017 to tie its own record for yearly launches at 12.
Arianespace will also seek to tie its record number of launches with 12 missions planned this year. The company first reached this cadence in 2015, and was on track to tie it again last year were it not for a shipping issue that delayed the launch of DSN-1, a Japanese X-band military communications satellite damaged en route Europe’s Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana.
I suspect that one reason Arianespace is getting these contracts, despite charging significantly more than SpaceX, is that they are successfully getting their customer’s payloads into orbit. SpaceX has a gigantic backlog of launches, so it makes no sense to give them more work as the launches will certainly not occur when these satellite companies need them to occur. This fact only ups the pressure and the competition. SpaceX has got to start getting that backlog into orbit, or else its business model will suffer significantly.
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
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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