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

NASA reveals that the second flight of SLS in 20210 might not be manned.

Pigs in space: NASA reveals that the second flight of SLS in 20210 might not be manned.

This project officially started in 2010, which means this second flight will come more than a decade later. They will have spent more than $20 billion by that time, not counting the money spent on Orion. They will have also spent billions developing one engine for the upper stage, only to shelve it to develop another which they will need to test. Hence, the possibility that the second flight will be unmanned. NASA has also admitted that the third flight of SLS won’t come until 2024 at the earliest.

What kind of crap is this? This isn’t a space program or a project to explore the solar system. It is pure pork, a boondoggle designed to spend as much taxpayer dollars as possible for as long as possible. It is time to shut it down.

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.


  • wodun

    $20 billion would buy a lot of Falcon 9 launches even at NASA prices. NASA should stick to building payloads for existing launchers.

  • Pzatchok

    NASA should stick to the overall design acceptance of those payloads.
    They are not manufacturing anything now, they farm that work out. Often times at a no bid rate (anything the company asks for) because they claim only one company can do the job.
    They should be happy to be the launch controller for all US launches. Air traffic control for space.
    They should be happy maintaining all science missions while out in space. And not farm it out to others like JPL.
    They should be happy doing research like on the station.
    And if they want they can be the facility for testing and training astronauts. But they even fluff that one up quite a bit. Seriously, they have something like 25 astronauts now and not a single ship ready to fly them for the next 5 plus years. Why maintain that many at all? Are 80% going to get sick the week of the flight?
    NASA’s major job is to dispense cash out to other companies that actually do the real physical work.
    How they decide who gets the cash and for what is very often in question.
    NASA doesn’t even develop new technologies anymore (if they ever did). Name the last new tech they developed and designed.
    DARPA initiates more new development than NASA, and they do it at a very cheap price. And demand workable results. Such as their work with self driving military trucks for general cargo hulling. Its costs the design teams more to actually develop and do the work than they are getting in awards from DARPA. (they are hoping to eventually sell the products at a nice profit)

  • The rationale for the SLS is that we as a nation are going to eventually need that level of capacity for a crewed mission to the surface of Mars. The Falcon X(X) is too uncertain at the present. So, for me it comes down to the issues of:
    1) Whether we want to forget humans to the surface of Mars — I’m thinking that there is enough of a consensus to keep this objective.
    2) Whether we should kill the SLS and have the faith (i.e. take the risk) that we will have available that capability by the time we need it, or
    3) Whether several Falcon Heavies docked together would be safely up to the tasks. Given that the countries of the world have had more than 300 successful dockings, I think that it would be a fair question to look at.

  • Pzatchok

    I don’t believe in any manned mission to Mars that doesn’t have a permanent aspect to it.

    Going there just to say we were the first is BS. In todays show me the money now atmosphere it will pretty much be forgotten by the masses in about 5 years. Thus any PR gains will be shot. Useless.
    Anyone mentioning 911 much? Not really, in fact the MSM would pretty much like to even forget about it. As evidenced by their attitude to the last two or three anniversaries. I don’t see a Mars landing as being much bigger. In fact it will be pretty ho hum since everyone will know about it and expect it.

    No if we start missions to Mars they have to be with the real and working goal of a permanent colony on Mars. Each mission bringing more and more for longer and longer stays with the eventual and reachable goal of self sustainability.
    If that can not be reached inside 5 years from the first man on Mars then its not worth it at this time in history. Our technology is not up to it yet.

    People got their hopes up about a Moon base after the Apolo missions. And were severely disappointed. Don’t do it again unless your willing to have the populous give up on space totally.
    they think we have far more important problems right here on Earth like equality for transgenders and gun control. Space is fluff and an expense they do not see as worth much except when it involves telecommunications.
    Convince them building a moon base will help the internet and bring them free telecommunications and they will over fund you. They will cover you in gold.
    But tell them its for that nebulous thing called research or just to be first and they will kick you to the curb.

  • Edward

    Is it coincidence?

    The following two commentaries came out in Space News a couple of days before the NASA announcement that they may not fly a manned Orion/SLS in 2021. Is it possible that the Mars flyby mission proposed by some in Congress, based upon Dennis Tito’s idea, is being cut off before any enthusiasm can be developed?

    It seems that the US government and NASA have lost their spirit for bold exploration, but these editorialists haven’t:
    “Some lawmakers, including Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), who chairs the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, have taken to the idea of a crewed Mars flyby mission that originally was proposed as a purely private venture by pioneering space tourist Dennis Tito.”
    “We must rekindle within NASA the fire that blazed the trail to the Moon. The future of this nation’s exploration efforts lead to Mars. The first flag to fly on another planet in our solar system should be that of the United States.”

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 *