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I am now in the second week of my July fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black, celebrating its 14th anniversary. Thank you to everyone that donated so generously last week. I hope week two will do as well.


Your donations and subscriptions have allowed 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.


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SpaceX and Rocket Lab complete launches

Both SpaceX and Rocket Lab successfully completed launches today. First SpaceX launched another 23 Starlink satellites, its Falcon 9 rocket lifting off from Cape Canaveral. The first stage completed its ninth flight, landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic.

Shortly thereafter, Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket lifted off from one of its launchpads in New Zealand, placing two technology demonstration satellites in orbit, one testing a solar sail from NASA and the other from South Korea testing a cubesat doing optical observations of Earth. Though the first stage had the markings of a stage designed for resuse, there was no indication in the company’s live stream of any attempt to recover it.

The leaders in the 2024 launch race:

42 SpaceX
16 China
6 Russia
5 Rocket Lab

American private enterprise now leads the rest of the world combined in successful launches 49 to 28, while SpaceX by itself still leads the rest of the world, including other American companies, 42 to 35.

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.


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"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


  • mkent

    This was Electron’s 42nd successful orbital launch, moving it into a tie with Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus for the second most prolific smallsat launcher in history. LTV’s Scout will retain its record of 87 for a while yet, I should think.

  • mkent: Were those 87 Scout launches all orbital? I did not think it had that many orbital launches.

  • mkent

    Bob: I thought so when I typed that, but checking my records, I find 122 total Scouts launched across 21 flown variants, breaking down into 90 successful orbital flights, 12 failed orbital flight attempts, and 20 intentional suborbital flights. Payload to orbit of the orbital variants ranged from a low of 6 kg to a high of 210 kg, so both Pegasus and Electron have Scout beat quite handily in that department.

  • Edward

    I counted 97 successful orbital launches. 95 low Earth orbit and 2 high orbit.

    It is exciting that Rocket Lab has exceeded monthly launches and is now averaging one every 3½ weeks.

  • mkent

    Edward: Wikipedia? How quaint. :-)

    That might be where I was remembering 87 successful orbital launches from.

    ”I counted 97 successful orbital launches. 95 low Earth orbit and 2 high orbit.”

    Are you sure? I counted 87 successful orbital launches: 85 LEO and 2 HEO. That figure also matches the “Launches By Vehicle” and “Launches By Decade” charts on that page.

    Either way, Electron has a ways to go to match that record

  • Edward

    Are you sure?

    Well, that is why I put in the link, just in case I cannot count on my fingers correctly. I haven’t verified your count, but since it matches the other, I will trust that it is correct.

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