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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.

 

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.

 

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Rocket Lab’s payload on its first suborbital test launch of its Electron rocket

Until today it was unclear whether the successful first suborbital launch of Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket on June 17, 2023 carried a payload. Now we know it did:

The launch took place at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and demonstrated the Multi-Service Advanced Capability Hypersonic Test Bed, or MACH-TB, program’s first suborbital flight of a hypersonic payload.

MACH-TB is led by the Pentagon’s Test Resource Management Center and the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Crane Division. The team selected Leidos as the program’s prime integrator last September, and California-based space company Rocket Lab is one of 12 subcontractors supporting the effort.

It appears the Pentagon program that funded MACH-TB is a different program — from a different Pentagon office — from the one that is funding the next suborbital hypersonic test using Electron. Nor is this unusual for the military. The duplication of these Pentagon programs, with multiple bureaucracies, says a lot more about the utter waste and incompetence and corruption in DC than it does about hypersonic suborbital testing.

For Rocket Lab however this duplication is great news, as it provides the company at least two different customers for its suborbital rocket.

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

2 comments

  • Col Beausabre

    Waste? What about competition from different ideas? I thought you liked the idea of competition

  • Col Beausabre: If the Pentagon wants to issue multiple contracts for its research, that’s great. It however doesn’t need to establish separate offices and bureaucracies for each contract, which is what it appears to do.

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