Hello again, everyone. My apologies, it has been two months since my last blog. To better serve you, I have been busy setting up my storefront on Amazon as a preferred medium to sell my works, setting up a monthly newsletter, polishing my four books for release, getting them listed as eBooks on Kindle, shipping what inventory I have to Amazon, getting the bugs and kinks worked out, preparing for an email campaign later in August, and doing numerous other business things.
July was an eventful month for space. On July 11 Sir Richard Branson, his three crewmates, and two pilots went to space from Spaceport America, New Mexico on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Unity, reaching apogee at 282,000 feet – 53.3 miles – where the passengers were able to unstrap and experience a few minutes of weightlessness. Unity glided back to Earth and landed safely on the runway at Virgin Galactic’s facility in the New Mexico desert. More information and videos at https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/07/11/richard-branson-virgin-galactic-live-updates/
On July 20 billionaire Jeff Bezos and three others lifted off from Blue Origin’s launch facility at Van Horn, Texas on the New Shepard rocket, reaching an altitude of 351,200 feet (66.5 miles) where the passengers were also able to unstrap and experience a few minutes of weightlessness. They parachuted safely and their capsule landed in a cloud of dust in the west Texas desert. More information and videos at:
These two events represent a historic moment for space and are a big deal. For the first time in history, space is being opened up for tourists and the public at large. Granted that you have to have deep pockets today to pay for a ride, but this is a start and the prices will come down in the future.
On July 29 Russia’s long-awaited research module Nauka module successfully docked with the International Space Station, but not without a hitch. A few hours later a software error caused Nauka’s maneuvering thrusters to suddenly fire. This caused the entire station to spin one and a half revolutions – about 540 degrees – before coming to a stop upside down. In response, flight controllers used thrusters on the Zvezda Service Module and a Progress cargo ship to counter Nauka’s thrust. Attitude control was regained when the space station was fully upside down, requiring another 180 degree turn to return it to its proper orientation. More information at: https://gizmodo.com/russian-official-experts-to-investigate-possible-cons-1847423624
There have been other space events, launches, and Boeing is preparing to launch its Starliner crew capsule on a test flight to orbit in August so that NASA has two means of replacing crews and resupplying the Space Station (Boeing’s Starliner and SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft).
I promise to make my posts more frequent in the future.