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.

NASA to conduct second SLS launch dress rehearsal in June

In announcing a press conference later today about the status of NASA’s SLS rocket, the agency revealed it now plans to conduct a second SLS launch dress rehearsal in June.

NASA’s SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft arrived back at Kennedy’s Vehicle Assembly Building April 26 after a 10-hour journey from launch pad 39B. Since their arrival, teams have worked to replace a faulty upper stage check valve and repair a small leak within the tail service mast umbilical ground plate housing. The teams also have been performing additional checkouts while the spaceport’s supplier of gaseous nitrogen makes upgrades to their pipeline configuration to support Artemis I activities.

We will likely find out NASA’s new launch schedule for the rocket today.


In order to remain completely independent and honest in my writing, I accept no sponsorships from big space companies or any political organizations. Nor do I depend on ads.

Instead, I 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, or any amount through Zelle.

The best method to donate or subscribe is by using Zelle through your internet bank account, since it charges no fees to you or I. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). What you donate is what I get.

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 these electronic payment methods 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


  • geoffc

    If we find out the SLS launch date, we may finally find out when the Permit for SpaceX to launch Starship Super Heavy will be allowed. :)

  • Col Beausabre

    You know, with the number of parts in something like SLS/Orion, it seems like every time you run a dress rehearsal that it is a chance for something else to fail, so you end up doing “whack-a-mole” endlessly. Perhaps wearing out other parts so they are ready to fail. And then, even if you have got matters so that everything is “fixed”, there’s no guarantee that some other part, having successfully performed N number times won’t decide to fail on N+1. Am I off the beam, here? If I am correct, “what is to be done”?

  • Doubting Thomas

    Col B – It seems like Musk consciously or unconsciously has conceived of a product and test program that attempts to address your observation about complex systems testing resembling Whack a Mole.

    On the wall of many senior engineering managers there is sign which all say substantially: “There comes a time in every project life that you have to kill (fire / layoff / send away) all the engineers. At some point you have to just go test. But if has taken your project 2 decades to get there and the test article is ungodly expensive than understandably there is a reluctance to fly unless you can be **SURE**. Anyone with half a brain KNOWS that in complex systems like this there cannot be certainty with all capital letters.

    That being said, I think Musk’s genius is to have tried to come up with a vehicle which is such that a single failed test is not a catastrophe. His relentless desire to build products gives him the flexibility to build – test fly – analyze and fly again.

    Also, the Musk quote that the best part is NO part. is another recognition that at some point the game of whack a mole begins and having one less mole is a good thing.

  • Jeff Wright

    SLS is a simpler beast….I would suspect sabotage. I wish Nick Saban would get into rocketry. He could have told that pixie punk that blew his elbow out at the Gala that arm-tackles don’t work. I have to get Musk and Saban in the same room…and to get SLS foam Crimson.

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.