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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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Blue Origin delays 1st New Glenn launch again

Capitalism in space: At a conference earlier this week Blue Origin officials confirmed that the first test flight of its orbital New Glenn rocket will not occur in ’22, but will be delayed again, into ’23.

New Glenn was originally supposed to launch in 2020, and has been delayed repeatedly since then, first because of new requirements imposed by the military and then because of delays in getting Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engine operational.

Though ULA is still aiming to launch its Vulcan rocket using the BE-4 in 2022, expect it to eventually recognize reality and delay also to ’23. That rocket was also supposed to make its first launch in ’20, and has been delayed for the same reasons.

These delays have cost both companies dearly. For example, had each been operational as planned, they might have won some or all of the launch contracts that OneWeb lost from the Russians. Instead, that business went to SpaceX.

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


  • V-Man

    I don’t understand why Jeff isn’t on a rampage in the company right now. Not only are they costing him money, they’re making him look like a fool.

  • David M. Cook

    He‘s no Howard Hughes, that‘s for sure! There‘s such a thing as being too “hands off” in your management style.

  • sippin_bourbon

    And at the same time, they are going to bid on the second commercial lander. The one that they convinced congress critters was necessary.
    They will bid, but cannot show that they can get anything to orbit. Yes yes, I know Starship has not reached orbit either, but the at least when SpaceX says something, they have have some experience of actually getting there.

    I am beginning to wonder. I know about the BO “step by step” philosophy. But it seems like they are working hard to re-invent the wheel. SpaceX invented a new wheel with re-usability. But they also knew, it seemed, what not to re-invent.
    BO seems to take in no lessons learned.

  • Jeff Wright

    The scuttlebutt I hear is that engineers have ideas…an enthused Bezos nods his head…leaves the room–and then some middle-management gnord comes along and puts the kibosh on the thing: “who told you that you can do this?” A lot of wealthy people have “handlers” to run interference.

    Handlers can keep a rich NFL star from being bled to death by his “crew” by being the bad guy who tells them ‘no,’ but they can kill the birth of new things-because they are typical low-imagination businessmen.

    Getting by “handlers” is why space privatization took so long. Bezos as a skinflint internalized these “NO” men where Elon allows a free hand. That’s my guess.

    Ironically, shrill libertarian screeds against NASA probably scared away investors from New Space-with Wormtongue whispering in the ear of an investor:
    “See? If NASA can’t do right-what makes you think this start-up can do better? Invest in computer programs with low overhead-not aerospace with the opposite. Look-you hired me to protect your assets-right?”

    That’s how dreams die.

    Now if Old Space and New Space had talked each other up-the spigots would have loosened.

  • pawn

    As I said in another post about The BE-4 Situation,

    “Bezos knows how to buy but not how to fly”

    I thought it was cute.

  • Andrew R

    If Bezos has “handlers”, they’re in the wrong places.. Where were they when he commissioned the building of a $500 M yacht?
    The yach is coming along well, by the way, the Dutch know how to build them. Now he just has to find the people who know how to build rockets & engines, and let them loose.

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