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I am now in the third week of my annual February birthday fund-raising drive. The first two weeks were good, but not record-setting.


There are still two weeks left in this campaign however. If you have been a regular reader and a fan of my work and have not yet donated or subscribed, please consider doing so. I take no ads, I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands (most of the time). Thus, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


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.


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SpaceX successfully launches 60 more Starlink satellites

Capitalism in space: SpaceX today successfully launched 60 more Starlink satellites.

The launch was significant in several ways. They reused the first stage for the fourth time, landing it successfully. They reused the fairing for the second time.

And with this launch, the Falcon 9 has now flown more than the Atlas 5, and has the most launches of any active American rocket.

This flight marks a major point in U.S. launch operations, as Falcon 9 reaches 84 flights to its name and officially takes the mantle from Atlas V as the most flown, currently operational U.S. rocket.

Atlas V began flying on 21 August 2002 and has 83 flights to its name after 18 years — for an annual rate of 4.6 launches. Falcon 9 began flying on 4 June 2010 and will reach 84 flights in just under 10 years with a flight rate of 8.4 launches per year.

That SpaceX overtook the Atlas 5 so quickly indicates exactly how successful SpaceX has been in grabbing market share from all its launch competitors.

I have embedded the video of the launch below the fold.

The leaders in the 2020 launch race:

6 China
6 SpaceX
5 Russia

The U.S. now leads China 10 to 6 in the national rankings.

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 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


  • Phill O

    It just gets worse for astronomers.

  • Alberticus

    Shoot them down. They are polluting the skies.

  • sippin_bourbon

    I wonder if software could be used to filter out the Starlink reflections based on their known positions, thus clearing up the pics.

    Would not help amateur astronomers like me, but, I also do not try to observe stuff until later at night, when any satellites , if in my field of view, would be in the planet’s shadow, and thus not be visible.

    I am not as upset about this.

    Astronomers are always fighting advances. They hate street lights. They hate low flying aircraft. I get it.

  • Ray Van Dune

    When we have hundreds of a large starships in LEO, ground-based astronomy is going to have a huge problem to cope with, whether they are sunlit or not. One solution might be to require everything in such a “fleet” to be in an equatorial orbit (as geosynchronous sats already are) that could be avoided by ground-based astronomers. Each observatory would have a known band of declinations that would be unusable because of interference. Of course, equatorial orbits require significant additional energy to attain for launch sites more than a few degrees from the equator.

  • sippin_bourbon

    When we reach the point where we have that many spacecraft in orbit, I hope we have many more space or lunar based observatories.

  • talgus

    killing the long duration earthbound astronomy. what happens when no one can even launch without avoiding this cluster net of satellites. all for earth-everywhere internet??

  • Chris

    I guess Wayne isn’t looking at this link….

  • sippin bourbon

    Chris bad link

  • eddie willers

    Space is very large.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Talgus. That’s the issue to which I was referring. Using software to remove the starlink reflections. We know when and where the satellite s will be.

  • Rose

    @sippin bourbon: Chris bad link

    Ha! Looks like an autocorrect error in the url. Should have been:

  • Max

    Within 10 years of the deployment of the satellites, assuming the virus doesn’t wipe out all life on earth, we will have large mirror telescopes in orbit and around the far side of the moon for Parallax depth and better detail.
    After the establishment of a lunar base and manufacturing, lenses the size of houses will be pushed out of orbit to be placed behind large rocks in the astroid belt and above/below the solar plane.
    With radar, it will not only give early warning detection of oncoming comets, but give detailed view of planets around other stars. The universe itself will be maped in exquisite detail.
    In a few years, astronomers will be able to do their work from their home computer linked to thousands of telescopes mounted across the surface of the moon.

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