Leaving Earth cover

In 2019 I obtained from my former publisher the last 30 copies of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. I sold about half of these, and with only a handful left in stock I have raised the price. To get your own autographed copy of this rare collector's item please send a $75 check (includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to
 

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

I will likely raise the price again when only ten books are left, so buy them now at this price while you still can!

 
Also available as an inexpensive ebook!
 

Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel, can be purchased as an ebook everywhere for only $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

 

Winner of the 2003 Eugene M. Emme Award of the American Astronautical Society.


"Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened." -- Arthur C. Clarke

Live stream of New Shepard flight: Successful flight

UPDATE: The flight has completed successfully, with the capsule reaching a height of about 66 miles, or about 107 kilometers. The booster was doing its first flight, with the capsule doing its eighth flight.

Original post:
——————–
Capitalism in space: I have embedded the live stream of today’s New Shepard suborbital flight by Blue Origin. The countdown is just under T-19 as I write this.

Watch if you want, though you will have deal with Blue Origin’s pr, including their somewhat noxious anchor, who spends much of her narration telling us how wonderful and breath-taking and amazing everything is, no matter what happens.

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.
 

9 comments

  • Doubting Thomas

    I’m glad that observation about narration was made. Turned sound down during streaming – brought up during infomercials and after lift off turned down again. Narration drove me crazy. Not much info in narration just super,duper,amazing,incredible exclamations.

  • Andi

    Interesting that they lit the engines at T-0 and held it on the pad for about seven seconds, presumably to let the thrust build up, whereas IIRC with the Apollo launches, they lit at about T-6 so that at T-0 they could let it go.

  • Dean Hurt

    Nice to see Blue Origin back in the flying business, now that Jeff Besos can take time off from doing all he can to kick Trump out of office! They need to pick up their game on if they want to remain relevant in the face of the successes of SpaceX. NASA is so lame. They take decades to do what Musk and Besos have done, but it ends up horribly over cost and fraught with failure and danger.

  • Michael G. Gallagher

    I keep thinking that in a few years Musk might be using Starships to take 50-100 people on one or two-day orbital jaunts. At that point, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin will be viewed as quaint flops. They’ll be like the many failed aircraft that litter the early history of aviation.

    Anybody up for Maitais and Pina Coladas out of a squeeze tube?

  • janyuary

    Dean: “They take decades to do what Musk and Besos have done, but it ends up horribly over cost and fraught with failure and danger.”

    NASA wants to recapture its glory days and is looking to recreate the past. As the only direction in time what we can go is forward, naturally they stall and fail, so focused are they on past glory.

    Musk and Besos may learn from past mistakes the way all thoughtful humans do, but their entire focus is on the future, the only direction in time that we can go.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Gallagher,

    I keep thinking that too. And after getting that part of the orbital space tourism business on a solid footing, comes the next step – a really big rotating LEO space station/resort.

  • Edward

    janyuary wrote: “NASA wants to recapture its glory days and is looking to recreate the past.

    Actually, NASA is taking direction from Congress, in building SLS and Orion. Constellation was directed by the Bush administration. NASA’s contribution is in attempting to find something to do with them. About four years ago, NASA called for suggestions for science probes to launch on SLS, but I have not heard of any serious suggestions. Even Europa clipper is/was at Congress’s direction, not the science community. Because the asteroid mission of the Obama administration found no enthusiasm from scientists, the Trump administration suggested a return to the Moon, putting the first woman there as the major goal. Gateway is an idea from NASA, but Congress has not been enthusiastic enough to fund it or to fund putting a woman on the Moon, so as far as Congress is concerned, SLS has only one thing to do, and that is Europa Clipper.

    Such lack of imagination or direction is another good reason for private space to choose what to do in space, decide how to do it, and to pay for it themselves. They are much more likely to do things that are so useful that people, companies, universities, or governments would pay for them.

    I’m beginning to think that New Glenn has a chance of launching before SLS does.

  • janyuary

    Edward: …the Trump administration suggested a return to the Moon, putting the first woman there as the major goal…

    And all sensible women and men see through it for the pandering to emotion that it is.

    Looking to the past, looking to placate feminists that Trump stupidly calls “progressives.”

  • Edward

    janyuary,
    I think you got the gist of the enthusiasm that America has had for NASA’s manned space program for the past decade. Trump failed to find a way to raise enthusiasm. I’m pretty sure that Biden will not do any better, especially since he is most likely to reinforce the belief that NASA is used for political ends, as he changes its mission, yet again.

    *Sigh*

    … that Trump stupidly calls ‘progressives.’

    Wearing vagina hats failed to make them look intelligent. Instead it emphasized one aspect of women, suggesting that the rest (including brains) was not important to the hat wearers. This was the impression that those particular feminists made just at the beginning of the Trump administration.

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