Scroll down to read this post.

 

I am now in the final week of my July fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black, celebrating its 14th anniversary. Thank you all, from the people who have donated small amounts to those who have given large sums. I cannot truly express how much your support means to me.

 

The support of my readers through the years has given me the freedom and ability to analyze objectively the ongoing renaissance in space, as well as the cultural changes -- for good or ill -- that are happening across America. Four years ago, just before the 2020 election I wrote that Joe Biden's mental health was suspect. Only in the past two weeks has the mainstream media decided to recognize that basic fact.

 

Fourteen years ago I wrote that SLS and Orion were a bad ideas, a waste of money, would be years behind schedule, and better replaced by commercial private enterprise. Even today NASA and Congress refuses to recognize this reality.

 

In 2020 when the world panicked over COVID I wrote that the panic was unnecessary, that the virus was apparently simply a variation of the flu, that masks were not simply pointless but if worn incorrectly were a health threat, that the lockdowns were a disaster and did nothing to stop the spread of COVID. Only in the past year have some of our so-called experts in the health field have begun to recognize these facts.

 

Your help allows me to do this kind of intelligent analysis. I take no advertising or sponsors, so my reporting isn't influenced by donations by established space or drug companies. Instead, I rely entirely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, which gives me the freedom to write what I think, unencumbered by outside influences.

 

Please consider supporting my work here at Behind the Black.

 

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.
 

3. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:


5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
 
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

 

You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.


More delays for Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engine

Capitalism in space: According to a report yesterday at Ars Technica, more delays are expected in the delivery of Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engine to ULA, possibly preventing the first launch of Vulcan from occurring in ’22.

Testing suggests the engine itself is functioning well. However:

Blue Origin is unlikely to deliver two flight-ready versions of the BE-4 rocket engine to United Launch Alliance (ULA) before at least the second quarter of 2022, two sources say. This increases the possibility that the debut flight of ULA’s much-anticipated new rocket, Vulcan, could slip into 2023.

Vulcan’s first stage is powered by two BE-4 engines, which burn methane and are more powerful than the space shuttle’s main engines. The sources said there recently was a “relatively small” production issue with fabrication of the flight engines at Blue Origin’s factory in Kent, Washington. [emphasis mine]

Translation of the highlighted words: We have built the engine, it is working great, but we have suddenly discovered we haven’t figured out the mass production process for building it quickly and in large numbers so as to support numerous launches by both ULA’s Vulcan and Blue Origin’s New Glenn rockets.

ULA claims it can get Vulcan off the ground only a few months after getting those flightworthy BE-4 engines because it has done most of the design work using the dummy “pathfinder” BE-4 engines Blue Origin provided last year. Don’t believe it. The company is going to have to install working engines on Vulcan, and then do static fire tests to validate not only the rocket but its entire launch process. Such testing usually takes months, and is rarely completed in less than half a year, even by SpaceX.

These problems at Blue Origin means that both Vulcan and New Glenn will likely launch more three years behind schedule. Instead of 2020, both will fly no earlier than 2023, at best.

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 print edition can be purchased at Amazon. Or you can buy it directly from the author and get an autographed copy.

 
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

6 comments

  • Jay

    Thanks for the article Bob. After reading the article I thought there were only two sets of engines- the Pathfinders (which I call test article engines) and the flight engines. I was wrong, there are three sets; the pathfinder engines for fitting and loading only, the development engines which are for test firing but not flight, and finally the flight engines. So ULA is waiting for the development engines next. If all goes well in testing, the flight engines will be shipped next and installed.

  • geoffc

    And already out priced/classed/obseleted, before it even launches.

  • Jay

    I know we have been talking about the engines, but has there been any talk about the construction of the New Glenn rocket itself? I saw photos of the dummy first stage that they were using at the Cape, but has anyone seen the first rocket? I know they have the manufacturing facility there and was wondering about the progress.
    I guess we are kind of spoiled since everything at Boca Chica is out in the open.

  • Jeff Wright

    ULA needs to start all over and build Pyrios. Two F-1s and a J-2 upper stage.

    Go for low part count.
    Let Dynetics lead.

  • sippin_bourbon

    I have not heard that anyone is re-building F1s.

    People, right or wrong, get on Musk for over-promising and under-delivering.
    But man, Blue Origin has really done a number on everyone with the BE-4.

    ULA is dependent, and now Sierra Space as well.

  • Star Bird

    The USS Bonaventure NCC 102 the very first Star Ship to have Warp Drive

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *