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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.

 

2. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.
 

3. A Paypal Donation:

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5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
 
Behind The Black
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ULA completes dress rehearsal launch countdown and static fire test of Vulcan

ULA yesterday successfully completed a full dress rehearsal launch countdown new Vulcan rocket, including a short 2-second static fire test of the rocket’s two first stage BE-4 engines.

A Vulcan rocket fired its two BE-4 engines in a static-fire test called the Flight Readiness Firing (FRF) at 9:05 p.m. Eastern from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 41. The engine start sequence started at T-4.88 seconds, ULA said in a statement an hour after the test, with the engines throttling up to their target level for two seconds before shutting down, concluding the six-second test.

The test appeared to go as planned. “Nominal run,” Tory Bruno, president and chief executive of ULA, tweeted moments after the test.

This dress rehearsal had originally been scheduled for late May, but issues on the rocket required ULA to scrub the launch and return the rocket to the assembly building.

There appear to be only three issues remaining before that first launch can occur. First there is the hydrogen leak that caused the destruction of the rocket’s Centaur upper stage during a static fire engine test in March. The company has apparently still not determined what action — if any — must be taken on this.

Second is whether the rocket’s primary payload, Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander, is ready for launch. It appears it has completed all ground testing, but there were questions whether its software has been adjusted for a new landing site that NASA assigned it in February.

Third is scheduling. Peregrine’s monthly launch windows are only four to five days long each month. This limitation also has to be juggled with other ULA launches on the same launchpad, using its soon-to-be retired Atlas-5 rocket.

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

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