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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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Senate committee gives NASA and Commerce responsibility for removing space junk

The Senate Commerce committee has now okayed a bill that would require NASA to develop several space junk removal projects while giving the Commerce department the responsibility of identifying what space junk needs to be removed.

The core of the bill would direct NASA to establish an active debris removal program. That would include funding research and development activities “with the intent to close commercial capability gaps and enable potential future remediation missions for such orbital debris,” the bill states. NASA would also fund a demonstration mission for debris removal and allow it and other agencies to procure debris removal services.

The version of the ORBITS Act approved by the committee is different from the version introduced earlier this year. Among the changes is in a section that originally called on NASA to develop a prioritized list of orbital debris to remove. In the new version, that responsibility is given instead to the Commerce Department. The Commerce Department, through its Office of Space Commerce, is developing a space traffic coordination system called the Traffic Coordination System for Space (TraCSS) that will take over civil space traffic management roles currently handled by the Defense Department. That involves taking in data from Defense Department and other sources and using it to provide warnings of potential close approaches to satellite operators.

Though unstated, this bill appears to be a direct slap at the FCC’s effort under the Biden administration to claim the power to regulate space junk, despite its lack of statutory authority to do so.

The bill is of course not yet law, as it still needs to be approved by both the House and Senate. However, some version that stops the FCC now seems very likely, as the House itself has already rejected a bill that would have approved the FCC power grab.

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

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

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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.

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