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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.


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Rocket Lab launches seven satellites; recovers first stage from ocean

Rocket Lab today successfully used its Electron rocket to place seven smallsats into orbit, lifting off from New Zealand.

The first stage used parachutes to softly splash down in the ocean, where it was recovered for refurbishment and relaunch. As this stage is the first in which this full reuse will be attempted, the ability to refurbish the stage after its salt water swim remains the critical factor. We will not know its state until a complete inspection plus static fire engine tests are completed.

The leaders in the 2023 launch race:

47 SpaceX
26 China
9 Russia
6 Rocket Lab
5 India

American private enterprise now leads China in successful launches 54 to 26, and the entire world combined 54 to 45, while SpaceX alone still leads the rest of the world (excluding other American companies) 47 to 45.

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


  • Steve Richter

    OT: I had never considered that there are standalone planets out in distant space.
    The video says the Roman space telescope will launch in a few years and will detect more exoplanets. Would be fascinating to find out there are planets closer to our solar system than the nearest stars.

  • geoffc

    ULA still has not made the leaderboard. Wow. Half a year and a single launch. Man that assured access money is totally worth it.

  • mkent

    ”ULA still has not made the leaderboard. Wow. Half a year and a single launch.”

    What payloads are sitting on the ground waiting for ULA? None. The delays are due to lack of payloads, not rockets.

    ”Man that assured access money is totally worth it.

    ULA hasn’t gotten “assured access” money in years, but this hiatus shows why it was needed. ULA has rockets stacked up like cordwood but is waiting for payloads delayed for years by the government. That’s expensive, and the government has to pay for that.

  • Richard M

    ULA hasn’t gotten “assured access” money in years, but this hiatus shows why it was needed.

    ULA during the Gass years made a decision to concentrate its business on government payloads. SpaceX did not. You see the results.

    (But for the record, SpaceX has still somehow managed to launch 7 payloads for the U.S. government, not counting rideshare cube/small sats.)

  • Mike Borgelt

    “What payloads are sitting on the ground waiting for ULA? None. The delays are due to lack of payloads, not rockets.”
    See Quick Space Links today:
    “Apparently the customer, Amazon, could no longer tolerate the delays with Vulcan. It has to launch soon, because its license requires it to place a minimum of 1,600 satellites in orbit by 2026. Amazon also probably wanted off that first Vulcan launch because of the risks. Better to launch on the established and very reliable Atlas-5.”

  • Jeff Wright

    Atlas V is a good rocket…but those RD-180s are running out, no?

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