Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work here at Behind The Black by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


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. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

4. 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

Prep of first SLS rocket continues to suggest no launch in ’21

Though NASA and Boeing crews and management have been striving very hard to get the SLS rocket on the launchpad for a liftoff before the end of this year, the schedule has as expected continued to slip, with the chances of a launch by December now increasingly unlikely.

NASA engineers have not discovered any major problems during the SLS testing, but key milestones leading up to the Artemis 1 launch have been steadily sliding to the right in NASA’s processing schedule.

Before NASA raised the Boeing-made SLS core stage onto its mobile launch platform inside High Bay 3 of the VAB in June, managers hoped to connect he Orion spacecraft for the Artemis 1 mission on top of the rocket in August. That’s now expected this fall.

The first rollout of the 322-foot-tall (98-meter) rocket from the VAB to launch pad 39B was scheduled no earlier than September. That’s now expected in late November, at the soonest, according to [Cliff Lanham, senior vehicle operations manager for NASA’s exploration ground systems program].

The schedule slips, while not significant amid the history of SLS program delays, have put a major crunch on NASA’s ambition to launch the Artemis 1 mission this year. The agency is evaluating Artemis 1 launch opportunities in the second half of December, multiple sources said, but that would require NASA to cut in half the time it originally allotted between the SLS fueling test and the actual launch date.

None of this is really a surprise. NASA had always said it would take about six to ten months to get the rocket ready for launch once it arrived in Florida, and it only got there in May. That meant a late November launch could only occur if everything went perfectly. As this is the first time this rocket has ever been assembled, it is not reasonable to expect such perfection.

Based on all factors, the launch will likely occur no earlier than January, but more likely in February, at the earliest. On that schedule it is very likely SpaceX’s Starship will reach orbit first.

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.


  • Jeff Wright

    Hang up with Orion then?

  • Scott M.

    From my understanding there is also another time-sensitive aspect with the SLS’s solid rocket boosters. Those can only be left stacked for so long before they have to be taken apart and re-packed. Yet another ticking clock.

  • phil wilson

    FAA will do its best to make Starship delayed into 2022. Have yet to issue required for flight initial report. Then there’s a period for public comment. Then final report issued. Likely remediations required which will also take time.

    “The EA will allow the FAA to determine the appropriate course of action: preparation of an EIS because the proposed action’s environmental impacts would be significant; issuance of a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI); or issuance of a “Mitigated FONSI” providing for mitigation measures to address the proposed action’s environmental impacts. The FAA may make its determination during the EA process or after SpaceX presents a draft EA for FAA approval.

    To receive the licenses, SpaceX must complete a safety review and develop agreements for the license application in addition to the environmental review. “

  • Scott M.

    Okay, I looked it up and the seals between the SRB segments are rated for a year after stacking. They started stacking the SRBs in January of 2021. Any bets if they’ll actually launch before January 2022?

  • Ray Van Dune

    So if the seals in the SRBs fail that can’t cause any serious problem can it? They should get an opinion from Joe Biden’s staff just to be sure, when they have a chance after reviewing SpaceX’s EIS.

  • David Eastman

    The SRB issue has been brought up several times before. The staggered the stacking a bit, so the full weight wasn’t on the lower rings right to start, and as I recall, that put the one year date out into March or April. And of course they could always issue a waiver if its close, but if it starts slipping to June, then they probably need to restack with new boosters, which would be a disaster.

  • Dean Hurt

    NASA’s legacy sucks! If this current do-nothing mind-set was in place in the 1950’s, we’d still be waiting to get a Mercury capsule in space.

  • Col Beausabre

    “And of course they could always issue a waiver”

    What I don’t like is the the sense of things being driven by an artificial deadline. We had this once before and it resulted in the loss of the spacecraft, do we really want to go through that again?

  • Richard M

    I’ve read that NASA has long been willing to certify the SRB’s up to 15 months from stacking. Which would sync with what David Eastman says.

    Still, if Eric Berger’s source is to be believed (see his story at Ars Technica from a few days ago), even that may be a push. They’re on the clock, and they’ve only got limited margin to play with.

  • Jeff Wright

    It is unmanned-so they can chance it. The Greens will kill all rocketry if given the chance.

    Robert and I may not agree on much-and while I do support DoE…the EPA needs abolishing. I heard it said that most of American concrete was laid down in FDR’s watch. Today’ eco-dems and libertarians would form a Stalin-Hitler pact against him. Only civil engineers should hold office or get MBAs.

  • Jeff Wright

    Now it looks like MAF took a hit. Branson’s flight had a red light…and I think I know what to call China’s leader-a crook who is at least pro-space…he’s their Spiro T. Agnew

  • Scott M.

    Jeff Wright, would you kindly clarify what MAF is?

  • Jeff Wright

    Michoud Assembly Fac’…IIRC

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 *