Conscious Choice cover

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.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

Chinese pseudo-private company buys engines for its reusable rocket

The pseudo-private Chinese rocket company, Rocket Pi, has signed a deal with another pseudo-private Chinese company, Jiuzhou Yunjian, to build the engines the former will use in its proposed reusable Darwin-1 rocket.

I call these pseudo-private because — while they both have raised independent Chinese investment capital and are structured and appear to operate as private companies, they remain entirely under the supervision of the Chinese communist government, most especially its military wing. Nothing they do is done without that government’s permission, even if they are launching entirely private payloads.

Nonetheless, both companies are real, and have been proceeding aggressively towards the first launch of Darwin-1 in ’23. There is every reason to expect them to succeed.


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


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


If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

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

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • Steve Richter

    Is this the technical challenge to building a reusable booster? Having rocket engines that can fire, shut off and then fire again to safely land the booster?

    Currently, Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy are the only boosters that have launched an actual payload into orbit and then safely landed, to be reused in a later flight?

  • Edward

    Steve Richter asked: “Is this the technical challenge to building a reusable booster? Having rocket engines that can fire, shut off and then fire again to safely land the booster?

    Relightable rocket engines have been around for a long time. This is not the limiting factor. Major problems that engineers considered limiting were the stresses on the engines during reentry from the vacuume of space. An orbital booster has a horizontal velocity of around a mile per second, and must fall from above the Karman line, so it will have a large velocity as it reaches the denser parts of the atmosphere.

    Reusing a first stage had seemed impractical for most rocket engineers, although there was an idea to redesign the Saturn V first stage with wings to return for a runway landing and later reuse. This would have been used for the Space Shuttle, and it would have protected the engines in a similar way as the Shuttle. Some engineers thought there was another possibility: propulsive reentry.

    Some engineers with this second opinion went to work at SpaceX and applied a reentry burn that slows the Falcon booster stage to a more acceptable speed through the thicker atmosphere. Blue Origin’s booster did not have as much velocity to bleed off during reentry, so they don’t need the reetry burn, but I have noticed that the maximum speed of the New Shepard booster is similar to the speed that Falcon slows to during reentry.

    By building reusable boosters, both Blue Origin and SpaceX have reduced the performance of their overall rocket systems, but the reduced costs of the launches have more than made up for the difference.

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 *