Leaving Earth cover

In 2019 I obtained from my former publisher the last 30 copies of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. I sold about half of these, and with only a handful left in stock I have raised the price. To get your own autographed copy of this rare collector's item please send a $75 check (includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

I will likely raise the price again when only ten books are left, so buy them now at this price while you still can!

Also available as an inexpensive ebook!

Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel, can be purchased as an ebook everywhere for only $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.


Winner of the 2003 Eugene M. Emme Award of the American Astronautical Society.

"Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened." -- Arthur C. Clarke

Another delay at Virgin Galactic

In an interview with David Letterman this week, Richard Branson admitted that his first flight on SpaceShipTwo will not be in December 2014 but early next year.

Watch the interview at the link. It is very clear that Branson is getting uncomfortable with the situation. He has made these claims too many times without showing any results. Also note the incredible ignorance exhibited by Letterman. A good interviewer has to ask some basic questions, but a good interviewer also needs to have a basic understanding of the subject. Letterman shows us here that he doesn’t know squat.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.


  • Pzatchok

    He a few months to go and has yet to flight test the engines yet.

    I can see this happening. Not!

    Do we really think his board of directors is going to let him have his fun ride while he is still in charge of the company?
    Riding a balloon is one thing. balloon flights happen thousands of times a year. But under tested rockets to space?
    And will his passengers have any safety equipment? Such as a space suit in case of a cabin leak. Its not like this craft is built to make a powered entry/return in order to get below 20 thousand feet in time to save them.

  • AndrewJakobs

    Uhmm.. have you ever watched letterman? I guess you haven’t otherwise you wouldn’t say a thing like “Letterman shows us here that he doesn’t know squat”…

    Letterman isn’t a scientific program, it isn’t a serious interview program, it’s a fun and light entertainment program without any serious subjects.. He’s a comedian, not an interviewer.. And most people who watch letterman don’t care about the details, it’s all about the fun and laughter and interaction between letterman and his guests… And it has been a succesfull concept for a few decades, and will be for the next few (letterman will retire soon and will be superseded by another comedian)..

  • I’ve watched Letterman, and I also watched Johnny Carson for years. If Carson had someone on talking about a scientific subject, such as Carl Sagan, he made sure that he was reasonably educated about the subject so that other knowledgeable people could see that. He made an effort to be informed, and to ask informed questions.

    Letterman made no effort. He waved his ignorance like a flag.

    The audiences in both time periods wanted to be entertained. In Carson’s time however the audience was often entertained by some intelligent and educational conversation. In Letterman’s time it seems to me, based on your comment, today’s audience no longer thinks being intelligent or educated is entertaining. How sad.

  • wx

    please, it’s the letterman show. it’s comedy. it’s not meant to ask serious questions about space tourism or dwell on any failures. the audience doesn’t want that. he has a particular style, i’m sure he is a well rounded good interviewer. not the right place to expect that.

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