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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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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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Starliner return delayed again to June 26th

In a press briefing today, Boeing and NASA announced that they have decided to delay the return of Boeing’s Starliner capsule, carrying two astronauts, another four days to June 26, 2024. The landing would take place just before dawn, landing at White Sands in New Mexico.

The decision to delay is related to the results from the hot fire tests of the aft thrusters of Starliner on June 15, 2024. Engineers want to review the data, which included finding that one of the eight thrusters is producing unacceptable results and will not be used for the rest of the flight. The other seven thrusters however produced acceptable results, “good thrust” as noted by one official.

The extra time to review the data is also because these thrusters are on the service module, which will not return to Earth. They want to make sure they understand the issues entirely. The longer time docked to ISS is also giving them better data for future longer missions.

As for the helium leaks, the level of leaking appears to be dropping, and in fact dropped after the hot fire burns, and “appears to be somehow related to the thrusters.” Either way, the safety margins remain sufficient so that the return is not threatened in any way by these leaks.

The valve issue also seems under control, with all the valves now working as expected.

Overvall, engineers have decided they have a safe vehicle that can not only be used to return to Earth as scheduled, they are confident that they could also use Starliner as a lifeboat in a sudden emergency.

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


  • Col Beausabre

    “And did they ever return? NO! They never returned. They may ride forever, over the skies of Earth, They’re the crew that never returned”

    – With apologies to “MTA” by the Kingston Trio

    And, yes, instead of a sandwich, why didn’t his wife pass Charlie a nickel?

  • Mike Borgelt

    I remember that song from when it was released and played on the radio.
    Then there was an SF story called “A Subway Called Moebius”

  • John

    I would like the remind Americans that they still have seven of eight thrusters and that ain’t bad. The chances of losing another thruster are probably only one in seven or so. They can count on five or six good thrust making thrusters, at least, probably.

    Since we’re losing the service module we really need to understand the issue. We’ve determined the thruster doesn’t thrust. It has something to do with the thruster, or something that goes to the thruster. We haven’t ruled out valves yet.

    The helium leak has almost stopped. Why is there no helium left?

    No, you can’t go back on Soyuz.

    I’m glad the vehicle is safe. Now let’s not build any more. Thank you.

  • Dennis P Keating

    Col Beausabre, well done. MTA is Government in a nutshell. No matter how many nickels, it’s always, just one more.
    I was thinking of Gilligans Island: “A three hour tour….”

  • Milt

    “Something went wrong.”
    Dave Calhoun, CEO of Boeing

    Meanwhile, back on earth, yesterday’s Senate subcommittee hearing on Boeing’s safety related issues left little doubt that its members are less than happy with the company and its present management:

    In a strongly worded statement, Senator Josh Hawley accused CEO Dave Calhoun of “strip mining” the company, and there appeared to be a rare bipartisan consensus that the present trajectory of what was once one of America’s premiere aerospace companies was not sustainable. Mr. Calhoun, for his part, responded that “[he was] proud of every action we have taken” — presumably including the persecution of whistle blowers — and he acknowledged taking home a pay package of something like 33 million while overseeing his company’s precipitous decline.

    Whether or not Boeing will face prosecution by the U.S. Justice Department as a result of this and other investigations is unclear, but subcommittee Chair Richard Blumenthal called this proceeding a “moment of reckoning” for Boeing, and he suggested there was overwhelming evidence to support this step. At the very least, Boeing’s reputation has become so tarnished that even it’s stock value has taken a hit — the inevitable outcome of every such exercise in corporate looting / strip mining.

    Oddly enough — before the party’s realignment under Donald Trump — it was principally the Country Club Republicans* who championed the aberrant nonsense that “greed was good” and destroying the productive infrastructure of the nation for short term profits for the few was the job of every patriotic CEO. The idea, apparently, was that amassing sufficient notational wealth more than made up for no longer having farms that produced food, factories that produced quality goods that people needed / wanted to buy, or providing essential services such as education, health care, or safe transportation. Who needed *those* things? At this point, the quaint old idea that private businesses and corporations are society’s freest and most productive means of creating *things of value and real national wealth* — while at the same time making a profit — might even be coming back into vogue. We’ll see how this works out at Boeing.

    *Cf, Mitt Romney and Bain Capital

  • Mike Borgelt

    Seems to me that the people running companies that make things need to really like making those things, not merely using that to make a little money.
    It may have been a surprise to some at GM that they made cars.
    The executive offices need to be located above the factory floor, accessible only by walking through it.

  • Mike Borgelt

    The link to that SF story synopsis.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Apropos to this discussion: Gate Keeping…….it is a problem. Suspect that it is a big problem at Boeing. I know that it is a big problem at 2 other very large aerospace firms that I worked at. Some quotes from the link:

    “The problem isn’t Americans or America, it’s the elites that are running America. They think they are putting up ramps of opportunity with their ideas but instead, those ideas turn into roadblocks. As they put up more roadblocks, the chasm gets larger, not smaller. They are the gatekeepers.”

    Read the article:

  • Mike Borgelt

    I made this comment at Rand Simberg’s place:

    From the updated article:

    “People are not hardwired to be centralized and herded.”

    Unfortunately all too many are natural born feudal serfs.
    They seek a tolerable master who tells them what to do, provides what they need and allows them to grumble about their circumstances. Get off their behinds to improve their circumstances – not so much.

  • Edward

    Mike Borgelt wrote: “Unfortunately all too many are natural born feudal serfs.
    They seek a tolerable master who tells them what to do, provides what they need and allows them to grumble about their circumstances. Get off their behinds to improve their circumstances – not so much.

    Doesn’t that describe most Democrats? The rest are busybodies who like to tell everyone what to do.

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