Successful launch today of Cygnus freighter to ISS

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.

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

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.


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  • 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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