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:

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Hans Koenigsmann, 4th person hired by Musk at SpaceX, retiring

The fourth person Elon Musk ever hired when he was starting SpaceX, Hans Koenigsmann, has announced that he is retiring.

SpaceX vice president of build and flight reliability Hans Koenigsmann is retiring and has begun transitioning his role to former top NASA official William “Bill” Gerstenmaier, according to note to employees that was seen by CNBC.

Essentially, Koenigsmann and Gerstenmaier will be trading places. Gerstenmaier has been a consultant at SpaceX, will now move into Koenigsmann’s position, while Koenigsmann will become a technical advisor similar to what Gerstenmaier has been.

Without doubt Koenigsmann is one the the main reasons why SpaceX has become as successful as it has. I am sure Elon Musk will miss him.

While I have heard sources in the space community happy about the choice of Gersternmaier to replace him, I have reservations. Gersternmaier was in charge of NASA’s manned space program for almost the entire period it was trying to build SLS and Orion, and was the key planner behind its numerous delays and problems. While he started out well at NASA, those later years make me think of him as a typical Washington bureaucrat, spinning problems to defuse negative publicity rather than fixing them quickly. It was this spinning over the problems with SLS that I think finally got him fired by the Trump administration.

I hope I am wrong. I also know that if I am not, the odds are high that Gerstenmaier will not last long in this position. Musk does not tolerate spin.

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.


  • Ray Van Dune

    Musk did not get his original cadre from the aerospace establishment, so what is driving him there now? Ppl

  • I guess the US Justice Department is going to be pretty mad about this Non US citizen leaving Space X.

  • Ray Van Dune

    To clarify, I can appreciate that Musk may feel he needs world-class manufacturing savvy to achieve the rates and quality of production his strategy requires, but I suggest looking to Toyota, not LockBoeNASA.

  • Michael

    Gerstenmaier? That’s like President Trump hiring Ryan.

    The man does have his failings after all. Hopefully he was just rattled by SN9 and will correct soon.

  • Jeff Wright

    He is an HLLV advocate, so he will support Starship-maybe push for hydrogen upper stages. I think a modified Super-Heavy Two could be a single strap-on for an SLS core for something like ALS/NLS down the road…SLS having NTRs.

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