Scroll down to read this post.


I am now running my annual July fund-raising campaign to celebrate the twelfth anniversary of the establishment of Behind the Black. For many reasons, mostly political but partly ethical, I do not use Google, Facebook, Twitter. These companies practice corrupt business policies, while targeting conservative websites for censoring, facts repeatedly confirmed by news stories and by my sense that Facebook has taken action to prevent my readers from recommending Behind the Black to their friends.


Thus, I must have your direct support to keep this webpage alive. Not only does the money pay the bills, it gives me the freedom to speak honestly about science and culture, instead of being forced to write it as others demand.


Please consider donating by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below.


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


You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

One engine of the Falcon 9 failed during launch.

Confirmed: One engine of the Falcon 9 exploded during launch.

Video at the link. The other 8 engines picked up the slack — as designed — and got Dragon into orbit.

This spectacular engine failure will of course have to be reviewed. However, if I were a commercial satellite company looking for a rocket to get my satellites into orbit, this failure would be recommendation, not a deterrent. The Falcon 9 demonstrated that even if one engine fails (and this one did by blowing up!), the rocket can survive the failure and make it to orbit. If that isn’t clear proof that this is a well designed and well built rocket, nothing is.

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.


  • Joe

    And if an airliner you were riding on had an engine blow up and fall off the plane, but the pilot/flight control system managed to get the plane to the ground in spite of that; you would prefer to ride that plane again rather than a different plane with a different engine?

    Space X has a serious problem here. Until the cause of the explosion is determined it is impossible to know how hard/easy it will be to fix.

  • Will

    It didn’t explode

    “We know the engine did not explode, because we continued to receive data from it.”

  • Joe

    If you watch the slow motion video there is a large flare (something blowing up) followed by large chunks of something falling off the rocket.

    It would be better if we all just waited for what (hopefully) will be a detailed independent investigation of the incident, run by (again hopefully) the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Range Safety Office.

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Well, let’s hope the folks at SpaceX fix the problem – I’m sure they’re not happy about it, but the fact the mission came off successfully has to be considered evidence of robust design & redundancy. Obviously it becomes a major concern when considering future MANNED missions. Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but somehow, I think they’ll find & correct the source of the problem…

  • The analogy doesn’t quite hold up. Engine and airframe are separate entities. Most airframes can be fitted with several different engines. If I were on the example airliner, I would (after a visit to the airport bar) have no problem boarding the aircraft again, provided I was informed that the cause for failure wasn’t inherent in that model engine (i.e. design flaw).

    From an engineering standpoint, the fact that the system was able to achieve a useful orbit despite major system failure speaks to the robustness of the design. I’m sure that Space X would prefer not to have any failures, but I’d also bet that morale is pretty high around Space X Central.

  • Joe

    “From an engineering standpoint, the fact that the system was able to achieve a useful orbit despite major system failure speaks to the robustness of the design.”

    Or to incredibly good luck. That is what an investigation (if one occurs) will determine.

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.