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

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.

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.


  • 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.

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 *