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.

Friday’s Falcon 9 launch delayed

Because of a scrubbed static fire test on Tuesday, it is now likely that Friday’s Falcon 9/Dragon launch will be delayed until January.

Attempts during the four hour test window on Tuesday did not result in a successfully conducted Static Fire. Several requests for further information, sent to SpaceX during and after the test window, resulted in the company saying they had no information to provide. SpaceX normally provide confirmation after a successful conclusion to the test.

Source information noted at least one full countdown towards the firing was attempted, which was classed as aborted at the very end of the count. At least one NASA-based outlet claimed the Static Fire had taken place, potentially pointing to ignition of the Merlin 1D engines, before an abort – due to an issue – was likely called. No confirmed information on the issue has been forthcoming from SpaceX. However, the company has promised to provide more information to this site when “they have something to share.”

It was, however, understood that the next Static Fire attempt is likely to take place no sooner than Thursday. That too appears to have been cancelled following review.

If tomorrow’s static fire test has been canceled then Friday’s launch will definitely be canceled as well. None of this has been confirmed yet, however, so it is possible that all is well and the launch will go forward as planned.

Update: The launch delay has now been confirmed. A new launch has not yet been announced however.


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.


  • Norm Donovan

    Whats a static fire test?

  • A static fire test is whereby you turn on a rocket’s engines for a very short time but lock the rocket down so it won’t move. In the case of SpaceX and the Falcon 9, their launch routine is to always do a dress rehearsal countdown that includes firing the engines for a second to confirm that all works well. That dress rehearsal failed on Tuesday, which is why the launch is delayed.

  • Norm Donovan


    I learn something every day.

    Do all rockets do one before launch?
    Certainly you cannot do such a test on a solid rocket.
    I was certainly aware that you would do such tests as part of a rocket’s development, perhaps even before attaching the payload, but I am surprised that they do it on a rocket on a launch pad with a payload. If something went wrong, it could be quite a mess.

  • As far as I know, SpaceX is the only company that routinely requires a static fire test prior to launch.

  • Edward

    I do not know why SpaceX does their static test fire prior to launch, but it seems that this test demonstrated that these tests may have been a good idea. Depending upon what the problem was, they now have time to correct it rather than having a potentially lost payload and a mess on the launch pad or a splashed rocket.

    There has been an indication that they eventually want to launch their rockets 24 hours after they arrive at the launch pad (they successfully did such a test run a couple of years ago). They may not be doing static fire tests by then.

    Quickly launching a rocket frees up the pad for the next rocket, rather than having the rocket sit on the pad for a couple of weeks or so (current standard operating procedure). Right now, the world is suffering from a lack of pad availability and a potential for increased demand for launches.

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 *