Leaving Earth cover

In 2019 I obtained from my former publisher the last 30 copies of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. I sold about half of these, and with only a handful left in stock I have raised the price. To get your own autographed copy of this rare collector's item please send a $75 check (includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to
 

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652
 

I will likely raise the price again when only ten books are left, so buy them now at this price while you still can!

 
Also available as an inexpensive ebook!
 

Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel, can be purchased as an ebook everywhere for only $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

 

Winner of the 2003 Eugene M. Emme Award of the American Astronautical Society.


"Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened." -- Arthur C. Clarke

Northrop Grumman shuts down Omega rocket program

Having lost any chance of getting launch contracts or development money from the military for the next five-plus years, Northrop Grumman has chosen to shut down its Omega rocket program.

“We have chosen not to continue development of the OmegA launch system at this time,” Northrop Grumman spokeswoman Jennifer Bowman said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to play a key role in National Security Space Launch missions and leveraging our OmegA investments in other activities across our business.”

Bowman said the company will not be protesting the U.S. Space Force’s decision to select United Launch Alliance and SpaceX for the NSSL contracts.

This was a typical big space Washington project, aimed solely at getting government contracts, as well as government cash to develop it. The company had no interest in trying to develop it with its own R&D funds in order to garner market share in the general launch market, or even to make it cheaper and more useful to the military than SpaceX’s rocket.

In this sense this is no great loss. What we need is real competition, aimed at coming up with better ideas that will lower cost and increase capabilities. What Northrop Grumman was offering was none of those things. It was fake competition, and of no real value.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.


He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.
 

2 comments

  • Jeff Wright

    Now, I do want big, SRB size solids in silos that can launch on a moment’s notice in case of transient events.

  • Jay

    If you read further in the article at the end: “Northrop Grumman on Tuesday won its biggest contract yet for solid rocket motors: a $13.3 billion Air Force contract for the Ground Base Strategic Deterrent, a new intercontinental ballistic missile.”
    They are not hurting at all. Looking back at the August 2019 BtB post, they received 800M for starting OmegA. That was just development costs towards the big contract.

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