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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c/o Robert Zimmerman
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Dragon successfully splashes down in Atlantic

Capitalism in space: SpaceX’s manned Dragon capsule has successfully returned to Earth, splashing down in the Atlantic this morning.

There is a short video at the link showing the splashdown.

As far as I can tell, this test mission went 100% right. They now have the capsule they will use for the launch abort flight, which they hope to do by June, if not sooner. Assuming that goes well, they will be ready to do the manned flight by July, as planned.

The only thing I can see preventing this would be elements in NASA’s bureaucracy, Congress, and the federal government that are hostile to SpaceX and the concept of independent free Americans doing great things. These elements prefer giving power and control to their big bloated government, even if it can’t accomplish anything and that failure gives aide and comfort to hostile foreign powers.

We shall see if those elements move to block this mission in the coming months.

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.


  • Chris Lopes

    Manned launch in July to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11?

  • Chris Lopes: I strongly suspect that Elon Musk has this coincidence very much in mind.

  • jburn

    While you were distracted, looking skyward — Elon pulled a fast one.

    SpaceX Starship Hopper Moving to Boca Chica Launch Pad

  • Jason Hillyer

    Crew Dragon looked like a toasted marshmallow, as several people on Twitter pointed out. I was actually a bit concerned when I first saw it, but I guess it’s supposed to look that way.

  • Elon Musk may be our best acquisition since Wernher von Braun.

  • Better. At least, as far as we know, he’s yet to hit London with anything! About the “toasted marshmallow” effect, we should try to remember the white stuff on the Dragon backshell is SpaceX Phenolic Ablator Material, and is reapplied as needed. Even though NASA will be paying for a brand new Dragon for each crewed flight, the capsules will be reused on cargo flights, possibly starting with CRS-21 next year. SpaceX is supposed to get a minumum of three Dragon-2 flights every year, one crewed, and two cargo. There are seven crewed flights on the manifest (DM-2 and six crew rotations), and maybe 14 cargo flights before ISS goes splash? Musk did mention the possibility of flying Starship to ISS, if need be (sorry I don’t have a link).

  • Col Beausabre

    From the Times of London review of Von Braun’s book “I Shot For the Stars” – “But hit London Instead”

    To it’s eternal shame the US white washed this SS Major who was complicit in the crime of employing slave labor to build A-4’s and turned him into a Sixties folk hero

    “When shown a picture of himself standing behind Himmler, von Braun claimed to have worn the SS uniform only that one time, in 2002 a former SS officer at Peenemünde told the BBC that von Braun had regularly worn the SS uniform to official meetings. He began as an Untersturmführer (Second lieutenant) and was promoted three times by Himmler, the last time in June 1943 to SS-Sturmbannführer (Major). ”

    “… the German scientists led by Prof. Wernher von Braun were aware of everything daily. As they went along the corridors, they saw the exhaustion of the inmates, their arduous work and their pain. Not one single time did Prof. Wernher von Braun protest against this cruelty during his frequent stays at Dora. Even the aspect of corpses did not touch him: On a small area near the ambulance shed, inmates tortured to death by slave labor and the terror of the overseers were piling up daily. But, Prof. Wernher von Braun passed them so close that he was almost touching the corpses.”

    “Dora” was the code name for the underground factory building A-4’s

  • Chris Lopes

    Von Braun was one of history’s more amoral characters. He was willing to work with anyone to achieve the dream of spaceflight. He also has the distinction of being one of the few men in history to literally make a deal with the devil (the guy with the funny moustache) and get the better end of the deal.

  • Edward

    Chris Lopes wrote: “He was willing to work with anyone to achieve the dream of spaceflight.

    Not quite anyone. He made sure to travel toward the Americans for his surrender rather than allow the Soviets to take him.

  • Chris Lopes

    He knew where the better deal would be. The Germans who worked for the Russians ended up in labor camps, while Von Braun got to hang out with Walt Disney.

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