Successful launch today of Cygnus freighter to ISS

Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space cover

After being in print for twenty years, the Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space, covering everything that was learned on every single space mission in the 20th century, has finally gone out of print.

I presently have my last four hardback copies available for sale. The book sold new for about $90. To get your own autographed copy of this now rare collector's item, please send a $120 check (which includes shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

"Useful to space buffs and generalists, comprehensive but readable, Bob Zimmerman's Encyclopedia belongs front and center on everyone's bookshelf." -- Mike Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut


"The Chronological Encylopedia of Discoveries in Space is no passionless compendium of information. Robert Zimmerman's fact-filled reports, which cover virtually every spacecraft or probe to have ventured into the heavens, relate the scientific and technical adventure of space exploration enthusiastically and with authority." -- American Scientist

Capitalism in space: Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket today successfully launched it Cygnus unmanned cargo capsule on a supply mission to ISS.

This was Northrop Grumman’s first flight in 2020. The standings in the 2020 launch race:

3 China
2 SpaceX
1 Arianespace (Europe)
1 Rocket Lab
1 Russia
1 Japan
1 Northrop Grumman

The U.S. now leads China 5 to 3 in the national rankings. The U.S. will likely add to that lead with the planned SpaceX launch of another 60 Starlink satellites Monday.



  • sippin_bourbon

    So, serious question, did NASA buy this flight, as a customer?
    Serious question.
    The way I read things, it is, but look to be sure.

    If so, then then US (as a governement entity) is not leading.
    Free market non-government companies, only fully possible in the United States, are leading.

  • sippin_bourbon: By george I’ve thing you’ve got it!

    This is exactly what is happening, as I have been suggesting for more than twenty years. Slowly NASA is transitioning from building and owning things (and doing a bad job) to becoming a customer looking for the best and most efficiently priced products. Or as you say, “Free market non-government companies, only fully possible in the United States, are leading.”

    You are relatively new here. Spend some time reading old posts. Read Capitalism in Space. You will see this path outlined and proposed years before.

  • I should add that Adam Smith said it all way before I did, back in 1776.

  • David K

    I believe Adam Smith was a fierce critic of the British Empire’s manned space program in the 18th century – they never got anything off the ground!

    On the other hand, they accomplished some brave and heroic things in planetary sciences – they led expeditions to circumnavigate the world and take important astronomical measurements.

  • Scott M.

    Congratulations to Northrop Grumman on their successful launch! Their webcast could definitely use some SpaceX mojo, however. There were some weird audio cross-talk right as the Cygnus reached orbit.

  • Michael Schnieders

    Scott, I’m glad you brought that up. My wife and I watched the live feed and we thought that we were watching the official NASA feed on YouTube, but we got a bit confused when there was a Verizon recording stating that a call could not be completed. Did anyone else see/hear that?

  • Michael Schnieders: Several times during the NASA feed someone comes on to state loudly that the feed from some phone line needs to be muted. It appears no one ever heard that, and didn’t realize they were broadcasting.

    This happens a lot on conference calls. People don’t realize they aren’t muted, have no way of telling, and send background sounds (typing, chatter, etc) into the feed.

    I suspect however that the person who failed to mute their feed line at Northrop Grumman heard about it very clearly soon thereafter. It made them look unprofessional.

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