Scroll down to read this post.


My February birthday fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black it now over. I sincerely and with deep gratitude thank all those who donated. Without your support I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. For those who did not contribute during the campaign, please consider adding your vote of support to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


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. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

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

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

1st suborbital launch by Indian private company

Skyroot, a commercial rocket startup in Indian, yesterday became the first Indian company to complete a rocket launch, sending its Vikram-S suborbital rocket on a short flight.

I have embedded the launch below, cued to just before lift-off. The launch itself, which lasted only about six minutes, reached a elevation of just under 56 miles, tested of the rocket’s first stage, as well as a number of other systems.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Col Beausabre

    Well, congratulations to them. But to put it in perspective, this was state of the art in sounding rockets 70 years ago. and

  • Edward

    The announcer, at the 38:29 mark, said that the rocket reached 89.5 km and that 80 km “is commonly defined as the start of space.” This is similar to the U.S. 50 mile definition of space, but a majority of the world considers 100 km as the edge of space, the Karman line. Because the atmosphere becomes thinner and thinner with altitude with no altitude becoming an absolute vacuum, the definition of space is arbitrary.

    The Karman line is named after aeronautical engineer Theodore von Kármán. He postulated that at an altitude of around 57 miles, the atmosphere is so thin that an airplane would be flying so fast in order for the wings to generate lift that half the effect for staying aloft would be the orbital inertia and the other half the lift of the wings.ármán_line#Kármán's_comments

    I am not sure which airfoil, sweep and other wing shapes, or angle of attack this definition assumes, so different assumptions could give somewhat different altitudes. It seems reasonable to round out to a better number, such as 100 km, 80 km, or 50 miles.

    However, there could have been any of a number of other bases for defining space. Perhaps the altitude at with a person can no longer breathe, or the altitude at which his blood boils. The highest altitude at which an airplane has flown (although this could change over time), or the highest altitude at which a balloon can fly (unladen, of course). Perhaps the altitude that a hollow aluminum sphere with the density of water could make an entire orbit of the Earth without burning up on that orbit, or maybe ten complete orbits. It is all arbitrary.

    Reaching space may not be necessary for any particular mission. The mission may only require a certain time in freefall or a certain atmospheric density. I once worked in a solar astrophysics lab that had launched X-ray telescopes from White Sands, New Mexico, to photograph the sun. X-rays don’t penetrate the thicker part of the atmosphere, so the sounding rocket only had to get above a certain amount of the atmosphere and stay above the corresponding altitude long enough to get a good photograph. (There are now satellites with solar telescopes, so these particular sounding rocket missions have become obsolete.)

  • wayne

    good stuff.

    “It is very cold, in Space”

Readers: the rules for commenting!


No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.


However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.


Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *