Date set for first unmanned launch of manned Dragon

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.

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

Capitalism in space: NASA announced today that SpaceX has set January 7, 2019 as the launch date for its first unmanned test flight of its manned Dragon capsule.

SpaceX is targeting Jan. 7 for launch of its first Crew Dragon commercial ferry ship on an unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station, NASA announced Wednesday, a major milestone in the agency’s drive to end its sole reliance on Russian Soyuz crew ships for carrying astronauts to orbit.

If the shakedown flight goes smoothly — and if a NASA safety probe unveiled Tuesday doesn’t turn up any show stoppers — SpaceX could be ready to launch the first piloted Crew Dragon atop a Falcon 9 rocket in the June timeframe, carrying veteran NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley to the space station. [emphasis mine]

As I said during a taping today for my appearance on WCCO radio tomorrow at 11:10 am (Central), the only thing standing in the way of SpaceX getting its manned capsule off the ground is NASA. June is a long time from now, and the agency, egged on by corrupt politicians, could easily find ways to delay that first manned launch in that time. Nor would I put it past the corrupt Washington in-crowd, led by Senator Richard Shelby (R- Alabama), having no interest in the national interest, to do what they can to sabotage that flight. What they care about is diverting tax dollars to either their own pockets or to the pockets of their allies (which also helps bring them pay-offs campaign contributions as well).

Still, it is encouraging that SpaceX is pushing forward, and that there appear to be strong elements in NASA supporting them. Keep your fingers crossed.


My July fund-raiser for Behind the Black is now over. The support from my readers was unprecedented, making this July campaign the best ever, twice over. What a marvelous way to celebrate the website's tenth anniversary!

Thank you! The number of donations in July, and continuing now at the beginning of August, is too many for me to thank you all personally. Please forgive me by accepting my thank you here, in public, on the website.

If you did not donate or subscribe in July and still wish to, note that the tip jar remains available year round.


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


  • jburn

    I bet it really perturbs Shelby when SpaceX makes these huge technological leaps. Falcon Heavy has nearly caused SLS to be deemed obsolete; being fully functional and in service versus SLS being a scattered collection of disassembled parts.

    Now SpaceX has Super Heavy rapidly approaching actual assembly and testing — another giant leap. Imagine a potential flight around the moon with this reusable system before a single SLS is even assembled. The thought must cause Shelby to first go red with rage and then pale with nausea.

  • Col Beausabre

    jburn – “The thought must cause Shelby to first go red with rage and then pale with nausea.”

    Tell ya what, > I < go red with rage then pale with nausea at the thought of my tax dollars being pissed away on SLS

  • 1201AlarmSameType

    Cannot find the WCCO link to the radio interview. Sounds like a great topic.

  • wayne

    Ref-WCCO. I’ve never been able to track down the show after it’s broadcast. Pratt on Texas occasionally makes them available. (and for that Mr. Pratt, I am grateful!)

    Say– Great handle!

    Apollo 11 final approach

    “The computer used on the LM had a storage capacity of only 64KBs and the processor a speed of 4.7MHz.”

  • wayne

    tangent– a better version of the above:

    Apollo 11 landing from PDI to Touchdown

    “An annotated portrayal of the Apollo 11 landing on the Moon with captions to explain the various stages of the descent.”

Leave a Reply

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