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On February 5, 2023 I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Yay! As I do every year during this birthday month, I run a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


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Russia launches military satellite using Angara rocket; new global record for launches

Russia today successfully launched a classified military satellite using its new Angara rocket in its Angara-1.2 configuration.

Like ArianeGroup’s Ariane-6, Angara is modular, so depending on the payload’s launch needs, it can have additional strap-on boosters, from none to four. This launch had no side boosters at all.

The launch was the 135th of 2022, passing the record set last year of 134 successful launches for the entire world in one year. In 2022 the record was broken in the last week. This year the record has been broken two and a half months before the end of the year. Based on the number of planned launches for the rest of the year, 2022 is likely to easily exceed 150 launches.

And the reason this number going through the roof is because of the advent of private enterprise, private ownership of rockets, and intense competition. New rocket companies are sprouting up everywhere worldwide, each with their own rocket competing aggressively for business by lowering costs. The lower costs make it possible for more satellite companies to find financing because making money will be easier. This in turn results in more customers for the rocket companies, which encourages more competition which pushes the price down further.

The cycle feeds on itself, and will only end when the full potential of space exploration is reached. And since that potential is literally endless, this growth for the human race is also endless. The only thing that could stop it is if human civilization decides to stop it, intentionally, either from willful ignorance or fear.

The leaders in the 2022 launch race:

47 SpaceX
45 China
15 Russia
8 Rocket Lab

American private enterprise still leads China 67 to 45 in the national rankings, but now trails the rest of the world combined 68 to 67.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


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.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • sippin_bourbon

    The current rate of launch is roughly one launch every 2.15 days -ish.

    If that pace holds, that is 25 to 26 more launches this year, which is around 160.
    I do not expect that to hold through the holidays, however. US based launchers will surely reduce a bit through the upcoming holiday season.

    Regardless, this is a new high water mark.

    ” The only thing that could stop it is if human civilization decides to stop it, intentionally, either from willful ignorance or fear.”

    .. or we destroy ourselves. Never rule out mass stupidity. We humans are too good at it.

  • Edward

    There are about eleven weeks left in the year, and at the rate of 135 launches so far this year, I expect us to reach more than 170 launches for the year. 135 launches over the first 41 weeks gives 3.29 launches per week, giving 171 launches for 52 weeks. This averages almost one every other day. (Of course, this calculation only works for spherical rockets in a vacuum.)

    I think that we can conclude that commercial space is having a significant impact on how we use space.

  • An asteroid could come out of the Sun tomorrow, but, not likely. Humans are very much in control of their future. Increased space capability yields a more robust ability to respond to, and defeat, species-ending events, whether the threat comes from land, or ‘these new seas’. The species competitive advantages of a robust, individual-driven, society somehow never get mentioned by those lusting for a little bit of personal power for a short time, at the expense of all.

  • pzatchok

    I love the idea that we have so much space and launch capability but we are falling short on preparation for catastrophic events like an impact from a surprising direction.

    How fast could we right now launch in interceptor?

    If we only had weeks could it be done in time?

    If there was some catastrophic accident on the ISS could we send a rescue ship up in a week? How about to the Chinese station?

  • Edward

    pzatchok asked: “If we only had weeks could it be done in time?

    Since this kind of interception only changes the velocity a small amount, it would take years to assure that a probable Earth strike became a definite miss. If we know that there was something coming, we could always turn a probe that is now under construction into an interceptor, but it would probably have to already be equipped with a navigation camera and the software would have to be updated with something resembling the software on DART.

    If there was some catastrophic accident on the ISS could we send a rescue ship up in a week? How about to the Chinese station?

    The current plan for both space stations is to use the existing transports as lifeboats. If there were a catastrophic accident then the space station would be abandoned. Recovery of the station would have to be analyzed and considered afterward.

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