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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.


Fourteen years ago I wrote that SLS and Orion were a bad ideas, a waste of money, would be years behind schedule, and better replaced by commercial private enterprise. Even today NASA and Congress refuses to recognize this reality.


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.


Your help allows me to do this kind of intelligent analysis. I take no advertising or sponsors, so my reporting isn't influenced by donations by established space or drug companies. Instead, I rely entirely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, which gives me the freedom to write what I think, unencumbered by outside influences.


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Watch the first launch of Europe’s Ariane-6 rocket

Europe’s Ariane-6 rocket, first proposed in 2014 and about four years behind schedule, will finally make its first launch at 2 pm (Eastern) today.

I have embedded the live stream below.

The rocket was conceived by the European Space Agency (ESA) as an attempt to compete with SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. It failed to do this from day one, since the rocket was from day one designed to be expendable. By the 2020s it became clear to European satellite companies and government agencies that its launch cost would be far higher that the Falcon 9, and these companies and agencies have therefore resisted signing launch contracts with ArianeGroup. In fact, if Amazon had not decided in ’22 to give the Ariane-6 a contract for 18 launches to put up its Kuiper satellites, the rocket would have almost no launches in its manifest.

This situation was made even more starkly evident at the end of June, when the European governent weather company Eumetsat cancelled its Ariane-6 contract and switched to the Falcon 9.

Though the unelected bureaucrats and apparatchiks in the European Union are trying to require the use of Ariane-6, ESA and Europe’s rocket future resides in the independent rocket startups (Rocket Factory Augsburg, Isar Aerospace, Hyimpulse, PLD). Because they are in competition with each other as well as SpaceX, and are not saddled with heavy government interference, they can focus on innovating to lower cost. Expect them to quickly begin launching in the next three years, with reusability soon to follow.

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

One comment

  • Tim

    It looks like the launch was a success. After watching so many SpaceX launches this year, it is so apparent that the Ariane-6 is archaic – there was no landing of the booster and no apparent fairing recovery. The camera views were also significantly delayed, I think they said by 20 seconds.

    I am looking forward to watching the other European competitors, especially RFA, start launching.

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