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My July fund-raising campaign, celebrating the 13th anniversary of the start of this website, has now ended. This was the second most successful monthly fund-raising campaign ever. Thank you again to everyone who has who donated or subscribed. It is difficult to explain what your support means to me.


You can still donate or subscribe to support my work if you wish, either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are four 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:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
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Blue Origin successfully completes another unmanned suborbital flight with New Shepard

Capitalism in space: Only one month after its first passenger flight, Blue Origin today successfully completed another suborbital flight with its New Shepard booster/capsule, this time flying 18 commercial payloads for NASA and others.

These details about the spacecraft itself I think are significant:

The New Shepard booster, Tail 3, and its associated capsule, RSS H.G. Wells, flew the mission. Tail 3 is dedicated to uncrewed science missions like NS-17, and this was Tail 3’s 8th flight.

…Blue Origin expects to fly one more New Shepard mission this year with sister ship Tail 4 and the crew-capable capsule RSS First Step

In other words, Blue Origin now has two working New Shepard spacecraft. This will allow them to eventually up their launch pace.

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


  • Ray Van Dune

    So BO can go nowhere twice as often. Impressive.

  • Jeff Wright


  • What is meaning of ‘RSS’? In HG Wells?

  • Ray Van Dune

    Steve, I think RSS means “Reusable Space Ship”. They should have considered “BFD”.

  • pawn

    And another roll of the dice puts cash in the the bank for Bezos. They will keep rolling the dice till someone dies and for what exactly?

  • Edward

    pawn asked: “And another roll of the dice puts cash in the the bank for Bezos. They will keep rolling the dice till someone dies and for what exactly?

    For the same reason as airliner passengers died during the 20th century. If we fail to fly, we fail to learn how to do it right.

    Fortunately, the airline industry taught us not only how to fly safely in air but how to learn how to fly safely. Spaceflight will present a number of surprises, and we now have some knowledge of the dangers that we need to overcome.

    But we have to fly in order to learn.

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