The final week of my annual February birthday month fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black has begun. I continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, including numerous donations and a surge of new subscribers willing to commit to donating anywhere from $2 to $25 per month. Wow! The numbers are too many to send out individual thank you’s, so please forgive me for thanking you all with this one announcement.


The campaign however must go on, especially because I have added more regular features to my daily workload. In addition to my daily never-ending reporting on space exploration and science, my regular launch reports, my monthly sunspot updates, the regular cool images, and the evening pauses I post each evening, I have now added a daily weekday post I have entitled "Today's blacklisted American." Its goal is not to discuss policy or politics, but to note the endless examples occurring across the United States where some jack-booted thug or thugs think it is proper and acceptable to censor, blackball, cancel, and destroy an innocent American, merely because that American has expressed or holds an opinion or is of a race or religion that is no longer considered acceptable to the dominant leftist and bigoted culture. I want to make clear to every American that a large number of your fellow citizens no longer believe in the enlightened concept of freedom of speech or the idea of treating each person by the quality of their character.


Instead, they wish to shut you up, and oppress you if you happen to disagree with them or have the wrong skin color. This evil must be exposed.


To continue to do this into the foreseeable future however I need your support. If you are one of those millions who read Behind the Black each month, please consider donating or subscribing. Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
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Boeing and Bigelow show off their respective manned capsule and space station modules.

The competition heats up: Boeing and Bigelow show off their respective manned capsule and space station module. More here.

The images of Bigelow’s mock-up of its BA-330 space module are what is especially interesting, considering that we have seen similar mock-ups already of the interior of Boeing’s CST-100 capsule.

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.


  • Kelly Starks

    Well Don’t know if they’ll work or get contracts – but they look pretty.

  • B Lewis

    Having that heavy-looking control panel suspended in front of one’s unhelmeted head during a 7-G emergency ballistic descent would make for a truly anus-clenching experience.

  • Kelly Starks

    well as often as not all capsule aborts kill you anyway, so the panels the last thing you need to worry about.

  • “well as often as not all capsule aborts kill you anyway,”

    And what may your evidence be for this statement? Based on history, it is completely false. The only two launch aborts that have ever happened, both on Russian Soyuz rockets/capsules, worked perfectly and the crews came home quite safe and unharmed.

  • Edward

    It turns out that the escape tower also fired on Mercury-Redstone 2, pulling the capsule from the rocket, with HAM aboard. HAM also survived nicely, with the reporters telling us that he was all smiles. Tom Wolf, however, in his book “The Right Stuff,” said that HAM was upset that systems on the capsule misbehaved and gave him punishments even though he was performing his tasks correctly. Despite the overall success, a *lot* of important things went wrong on that flight.

  • Kelly Starks

    Actually of the two Cosmonauts I’ve seen records of aborting, only 1 survived.

    Also theres little of the flight profile that allows the use of such abort systems.

  • Kelly Starks

    Yeah and Ham wasn’t actually smiling, he was screaming his head off.

  • ken anthony

    But did Ham kiss the ground when he got back?

  • What records of launch aborts are you talking about? No Russian has ever died in a launch abort. None. Two launches had aborts, one on the launch pad and a second while first stage was firing prior to reaching orbit. In both cases the launch abort systems worked as designed, getting the Soyuz capsule safely away from the rocket and bringing it down safely to Earth.

    According to every piece of data I have ever uncovered, read, or discovered in my many interviews and research in Russia on their space program, the only Russian deaths in space occurred during landings, first with the first Soyuz flight and second with the return of the first crew to their first space station.

    If you know of another death that I am forgetting about or that only you know about, please describe it in detail, with your references. Otherwise, stop making up facts to fit your theories. It doesn’t serve your arguments well.

  • Kelly Starks

    I know the Soyuz T-10 in ’83 had a pad abort that the escape system worked from, but I read of a earlier one where their were fatalities… a ejection system I think… Been to long.

    The Soyuz launch failure in 73 didn’t involve a launch escape system. Though One of the guys did get beat up pretty bad.
    … or was that one in ’75 where they bounced down the side of a mountain??? Oberg talked about that in Reds Star I think?..
    Oh no that was a separate failure

    >…On April 5, 1975, two cosmonauts were dumped onto the Altai Mountains in the world’s first manned space launch abort. Pilot Vasily Lazarev and flight eng;ineer Oleg Makarov survived a harrowing 20 G descent and then a bouncing ride down a mountainside before their spacecraft came to a safe stop. ….. cosmonaut Vasily Lazarev recounted the events of his aborted space shot on April 5, 1975, when his Soyuz 18-1 booster malfunctioned and his capsule bounced down a Siberian mountainside near the Chinese border ..<

    Whatever.. no time to dig around for it. Could be a rumored other failure later disproved – or real one that got buried.

  • “Whatever.. no time to dig around for it. Could be a rumored other failure later disproved – or real one that got buried.”

    This is classic, especially the “Whatever.” You assert a fact you don’t know is true, and in fact is well known to be very false, and when I call you on it you say “Whatever”?

    Meanwhile, your first paragraph continues to assert these false facts, without any attribution. It sure makes you look like a complete fool, with very little help on my part.

  • Kelly Starks

    And how often do you attribute your off the cuff assumptions? Or anyone else here?

    If your curious and don’t want to just google Soyuz T-10

  • Kelly Starks

    An angry chimp? I’d more expect he’d rip someone’s arm off.


  • Why should I google Soyuz T-10 when it was one of the two very launch abort successes I described in my earlier comments? In writing about this launch abort for my book Leaving Earth I used information gathered during a face-to-face interview with Gennady Strekalov in Moscow.

    Granted, people do not cite their sources all the time, but when you make a statement and others ask you to back that claim up with your sources, it behooves you to do so. If you can’t, it then behooves you to retract the claim.

    You claimed that the Russians lost an astronaut during a launch abort. This claim is wrong. You can’t cite any sources for it because it never happened. When I am wrong I always make a point of admitting it immediately, since doing otherwise only digs the hole deeper in a way that does me even more harm. You should learn to do the same. It would help clear your thinking.

Readers: the rules for commenting!


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


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