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.

Smallsat rocket company Astra to go public

Capitalism in space: A merger with a major investment capital company, bringing in $500 million, will result in the smallsat rocket company Astra going public.

Small launch vehicle developer Astra will go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), providing the company with nearly $500 million in cash and valuing it at more than $2 billion.

Astra announced Feb. 2 an agreement to merge with Holicity, a SPAC established last year by Craig McCaw. That merger, expected to close in the second quarter, will turn Astra into a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq exchange with the ticker symbol ASTR. McCaw, chairman and chief executive of Holicity, will join Astra’s board as part of the deal.

Astra expects to raise $489 million through the merger with Holicity, a total that includes a $200 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) led by BlackRock and $30 million from a concurrent Series C round, company executives said in an investor call. The deal will value Astra at $2.1 billion.

In the article Astra’s head claimed the company already has contracts for its first fifty flights, but did not provide any details. At this moment Astra has yet to complete a successful orbital launch, and has two attempted orbital tests which both failed.


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Your support is even more essential to me because I keep this site free from advertisements and do not participate in corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. 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 Patreon or Paypal 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


  • wayne

    they lost me at Blackrock. I’m going to call a bubble.

    “Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPAC ‘Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings’ bought a 49% stake in Virgin Galactic for $800 million before listing the company in 2019.

    The Big Short (2015)
    Scion Capital cashes out

    “Looks like the collapse of the financial sector is imminent. Let’s start to sell my position. It’s $1.3 billion. Sure, I’ll hold.”
    Dr. Michael Burry

  • wayne

    Holicity files for IPO
    July 2020
    -25 million units at $10 each; consisting of 1 Share + 1/3 of a Warrant, exercisable at $11.50

  • wayne

    ….then, it gets interesting…..

    SPACs: Shares vs Warrants vs Units
    -how trading strategies work-
    Patrick Desjardins 2020

    – Units, Shares, and Warrants, all carry different risk profiles…..

  • Edward

    From the article: “In an investor presentation filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company projects launching 300 times in 2025, a total nearly three times the number of orbital launches performed worldwide in 2020.

    Although 300 smallsat launches seems like a lot, SpaceX recently launched around 150 smallsats on one launch. There is no lack of smallsats that need launching.

    Some say that SpaceX is drawing customers away from the small launch companies with its dedicated rideshare Transporter missions, but since there are not yet enough small launchers for the current market, this is not the case. Indeed, it could be the other way around, that the smallsat launchers will be better able to target individual companies’s needs than SpaceX can.

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 *