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Dragon successfully launched on its first unmanned test flight to ISS

Capitalism in space: SpaceX tonight successfully launched its manned Dragon capsule on its first unmanned test flight to ISS.

They also successfully landed the first stage. I have embedded below the fold the video of the launch. Dragon will dock with ISS in about a day.

The leaders in the 2019:

3 SpaceX
2 China
2 Europe (Arianespace)

The U.S. now leads China and Europe 4 to 2 in national rankings.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


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.


All editions available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors. The ebook can be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner. Note that the price for the ebook, $3.99, goes up to $5.99 on September 1, 2022.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Ed

    It’s 2019.

  • wayne

    Post Launch Briefing
    Elon Musk & Team Discuss SpaceX Dragon 2 Launch

  • Ed. Heh. Sorry. Now fixed.

  • wayne

    I’ve been having this strange feeling, it’s 1968, all over again!

  • Richard M

    Of course, this Dragon isn’t manned, but it is *capable* of being manned, which makes today a giant step forward to restoring American human access to space.

    Well done to SpaceX – they have worked for years to make this day happen.

  • A UK book (Paddy Powers) used to offer odds on which crewed vehicle the US would actually orbit first, but the site isn’t accessible from the US. A cursory search doesn’t show any US books offering odds on space activity. Sounds like an opportunity.


    I get the same feeling, but for Progressives, it’s always 1930.

  • wayne

    Good one!

  • wodun

    PC police going to be upset the word manned was used instead of crewed and the etmylogists will be upset that people are so uneducated as to not understand manned and similar words are not a reference to man, the sex, as they different linguistic origins.

  • wayne

    Launch of Apollo 8
    CBS news

  • Anyone else wonder why the Russian and Canadian got be first aboard the Dragon, while the American was left behind on ISS? Or why Konnonenko was so anxious to get into that cargo container?

  • William Barton: Politics. NASA favors our international partners and its cooperation with them more than it favors the U.S. and its American heritage. Thus, they get first dibs on entering Dragon.

    See this BtB post: Rather than use American manned capsules, NASA is considering buying more Soyuz astronaut flights

    Even more detailed: Even as NASA announces schedule for SpaceX Dragon test flight, anti-American forces at NASA work to block that flight

  • I know it’s politics and I’ve read the posts. I was wondering about the specifics in this case. I supposed Kononenko was always going to be second through the hatch as the most experience crew member, and maybe Saint-Jacques going first was the price of Canada signing onto LOP-G? Oh, well. McClain got to have a photo opp with Ripley and Little Earth. And if Boeing slips further, when DM-2 shows up, the flag will mysteriously have gone missing…

  • Edward

    wodun wrote: “PC police going to be upset the word manned was used instead of crewed …

    I thought the PC police now insist that women have male parts, too, and men have women parts, so now that everyone is the same, what is the difference between the words “manned” and “crewed?”

    Then again, the PC police fired that poor Google employee for pointing out that it is difficult to have diversity when everyone is considered to be the same.

    Meanwhile, congratulations go to SpaceX for riding out NASA’s bureaucratic (mechanical) bull. Next up is Boeing, who should also be adept at the bull ride.

  • Robert Pratt

    Note on the stream coverage, with many NASA fancy segments and the like, how SpaceX finds very capable engineers and similar to do the hosting while bloated NASA has PR and press people on our payroll to talk. The NASA stuff was unwelcome on the stream. We know they are expert at endless PowerPoint presentations and animations but I prefer the SpaceX actual experts to the paid to [deleted] NASA hacks!
    Also did you notice the NASA director talking, at least early in his puffery interview, as if there were people on this flight? I wondered if he even knew what was going on. Way to much media stuff on the stream coverage from NASA for a test flight.

  • Robert Pratt: I do not allow obscenity on Behind the Black. And deleting one letter and replacing it with an asterisk is not acceptable. I have deleted the curse word.

    I have repeated the rules repeatedly. Do it again and I will be forced to suspend you for a week. Do after that and you will be banned.

    I hate banning people, but I insist that the discourse here be civilized and civil.

  • Edward

    Robert Zimmerman,
    SpaceX has updated the launch video to the docking webcast. Would you consider updating your post with SpaceX’s YouTube of the launch video? (One hour)

  • Edward: Thank you. Instead of merely changing the link, I have embedded the youtube video below the fold in the post itself.

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