My annual February birthday month fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black is now over. It was the best February campaign ever, and the second best of all of my month-long fund-raising campaigns.


There were too many people who contributed to thank you all personally. If I did so I would not have time for the next day or so to actually do any further posts, and I suspect my supporters would prefer me posting on space and culture over getting individual thank you notes.


Let this public thank suffice. I say this often, but I must tell you all that you cannot imagine how much your support means to me. I’ve spent my life fighting a culture hostile to my perspective, a hostility that has often served to squelch my success. Your donations have now allowed me to bypass that hostility to reach a large audience.


Even though the February campaign is over, if you still wish to donate or subscribe you still can do so. 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
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Lockheed Martin buys Aerojet Rocketdyne for $4.4 billion

Capitalism in space: Lockheed Martin officials announced yesterday that it will buy the rocket engine company Aerojet Rocketdyne for $4.4 billion.

James Taiclet, Lockheed Martin’s president and CEO, said the acquisition gives the company a larger footprint in space and hypersonic technology. He said Aerojet Rocketdyne’s propulsion systems already are key components of Lockheed Martin’s supply chain across several business areas. “The proposed acquisition adds substantial expertise in propulsion to Lockheed Martin’s portfolio,” the company said in a news release.

Aerejet Rocketdyne has been in trouble because it has had problems finding customers for its engines. This acquisition will give Lockheed Martin more technical capabilities should it decide to enter the launch industry with its own rocket.

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.


  • LocalFluff

    The lowest price for a Falcon 9 launch is said to be about $44 million. They obviously add some for adaptations or extra services, but probably not more than 10s of percent.

    The price paid for Aerojet Rocketdyne is then the gross revenues of 100 Falcon 9 launches. And the profit of that some fraction, so they were valued like several hundreds of F9 launches. Wouldn’t it have been better to offer SpaceX those $4.4 bn in return for 100 future launches with their rockets?

    Corporate valuations seem to be driven by FED hyper inflating asset prices, and government contracts (or opportunities thereof). Neither will put a man on the Moon again.

  • wayne

    absolutely– we are in a massive financial-asset bubble courtesy of the Federal Reserve. If you look at their balance-sheet (what they want to show us) it’s filled with worthless-paper.

    –>pivoting to the birth of Aerojet…..

    The American Rocketeer
    -cued to the relevant part-

  • Todd Brown

    Exactly, millions of people and businesses destroyed or unemployed yet, here we have this year…Year of Covid and lockdowns the stock market flying high.
    Unbelievable !!
    Our Republic is in Great danger…it’s all built now on false promises and politicians selling us All out both Blue and Red.
    Be strong my friends.
    Thank you Robert for your updates on space, astronomy to allow us some escapism yet, also being practical about the harsh reality We All face.
    Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas to All.

  • Dick Eagleson

    The consolidation of legacy contractors continues.

    This combination at least makes a certain amount of sense. Both Aerojet and Roscketdyne were either first created as, and/or spent the majority of their lives as, subsidiaries of larger corporations. Both have also been shopped around and/or spun off at various times. Merging into a single stand-alone entity doesn’t, in the end, seem to have worked any better than had each attempting to stay alive on its own. Now the combined entity is part of a larger company once again. That seems to suit the long-running corporate cultures of both Aerojet and Rocketdyne better than did precarious independence.

    From LockMart’s perspective, it already had a half-interest in ULA, AJR’s only remaining significant customer. With this purchase, LockMart now benefits from more of the total supply chain of ULA.

    One wonders, in fact, if this move might be a prelude to acquiring the remaining 50% of ULA from Boeing. That would give LockMart the makings of a far more vertically integrated rocket subsidiary than was its previous rocket works that was combined with Boeing’s to create ULA almost a decade and a half ago. Given Boeing’s recent hailstorm of woes and need for cash, Boeing might just be receptive to such an offer.

    Success for a LockMart-ULA-AJR combo would hardly be guaranteed, of course, but it would have a better chance of staying alive than does ULA in its current form or than AJR had as a fading stand-alone. There is the little problem of having to compete with both SpaceX and Blue Origin. We can only wait to see how that works out.

    Minor complications include AJR’s recent deal with Firefly to use the heretofore customer-less AR-1 engine in its planned 2nd-generation Beta vehicle a few years hence. There’s no obvious reason why this deal could not proceed, but nothing is certain in the world of mergers and acquisitions.

    2021 may prove to be at least as interesting a year in terms of rocket business as in terms of rocket engineering.

  • LocalFluff

    Actually, the FED might go to the Moon after all. Piling up all the money they print to a Babel’s stare case. They were lunatics from inception anyway.

    SpinLaunch, the obvious fraud, is said to have raised $80,000,000! To shake a projectile into orbit, well, with the help of a secondary stage rocket on the way. If anything had been able to remain cohesive after the violent collision with the thick atmosphere at the muzzle of the “gun”. Total design brain failure. At least it makes SLS look good in comparison! Maybe they financed it as a PR project?
    “- Yes, we are bad and fail. But look, SpinLaunch is worse!”

  • wayne

    Aerojet Rocketdyne
    Scott Manley
    December 22, 2020

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