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Orion test flight a complete success

NASA completes a successful first test flight of an Orion capsule.

The flight went off like clockwork this morning, and appears to have had no issues throughout the entire test flight.

One minor anomaly: NASA has not been able to recover the capsule’s forward bay cover, drogue chutes and pilot chutes as expected.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.



    I have heard it repeated over and over on the various news services: “The new craft will eventually take astronauts to Mars.”

    How exciting! Not.

  • fred k

    Yeah, what a joke. It is ridiculous to imagine orion as reasonable part of a mars mission.

  • Edward

    Considering that NASA has recently determined that there is too much radiation exposure during a voyage from the Earth to Mars, I have to agree that the Orion Capsule is not likely to go to Mars. At the least it is unlikely to be adequate to meet NASA’s radiation-exposure guidelines.

    Beyond that, NASA’s studies continually conclude that a large, orbitally-assembled spacecraft should be used to go to Mars (I suspect, however, that privately funded, small-sized, manned spacecraft will make the initial voyages). Further, the president, Congress, and NASA have yet to declare that Orion’s destination is Mars (going to an asteroid is the only official mission, so far — the rest is talk and speculation).

    Robert asked in a previous post: “Why in hell is NASA even bothering with this test flight?” He answered by suggesting that it was in order to help lobby for funding. The problem being that the stated technical reason for this test, to verify the heat shield, is moot, because this one will be replaced by another one for all future flights. Thus the test is useless for the stated purpose and is a wasteful expense. It seems to me that Congress is using SLS and Orion to spread around “pork-barrel” money, rather than do anything useful, such as explore space.

    Although the funding answer is likely correct, I propose a couple of other possibilities, from my experience in the aerospace industry:

    1) This could be a milestone that is mostly a big “check-off” to show progress on the project. (This explanation could also be considered to fall under the “funding” category, as showing progress helps convince Congress to continue funding. Congress likes to see progress on their new toys, and they probably like watching rocket launches, too.)

    2) This could be a milestone that the contractor must meet it in order to receive a contractual milestone-payment. (Although this looks at first glance like funding, it is a contractual obligation rather than a reason for Congress to continue funding.)

    Either way, the reason seems to be financial rather than technical (no wonder this program is so costly). I also like to complain that the service module is also a one-off item, like the heat shield on today’s Orion test. The Europeans are making 1-1/2 service modules as “payment” of their part in support of ISS. Lord knows what NASA is going to do with the spare 1/2 module (probably ask a US contractor to finish it), and what service module will be used after all the European one(s) is used up.

    The Mars references are likely to be attempts to get the public excited. I don’t know how successful this has been, because I was not excited enough to get up at Weird O’clock in the morning to go to my local NASA facility to watch the launch, live, so I don’t know how many from the general public were excited enough to do so, despite all the announcements of the invitation.

    Frankly, this whole Orion/SLS effort (Capsule with no purpose, rocket too expensive to use more than every four years, tests that test … nothing useful) is a cluster-bleep that is not worthy of NASA’s capabilities or talents.

    Congress is squandering NASA’s potential, an amazing and unique resource.

  • Pzatchok

    I would love to see SpaceX toss a dragon capsule out farther and recover it.

    Just for the bragging rights.

    Use the first unmanned full test flight of the Dragon V2 and have it land on land or the floating platform just for kicks.

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