Space Command to launch today

Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space cover

After being in print for twenty years, the Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space, covering everything that was learned on every single space mission in the 20th century, has finally gone out of print.

I presently have my last four hardback copies available for sale. The book sold new for about $90. To get your own autographed copy of this now rare collector's item, please send a $120 check (which includes shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
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"Useful to space buffs and generalists, comprehensive but readable, Bob Zimmerman's Encyclopedia belongs front and center on everyone's bookshelf." -- Mike Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut


"The Chronological Encylopedia of Discoveries in Space is no passionless compendium of information. Robert Zimmerman's fact-filled reports, which cover virtually every spacecraft or probe to have ventured into the heavens, relate the scientific and technical adventure of space exploration enthusiastically and with authority." -- American Scientist

The military today will initiate a new military office dubbed the Space Command, thereby consolidating its space operations into one office.

U.S. Air Force Gen. John Raymond will serve as the first head of Space Command (SPACECOM). At launch, Raymond will lead 87 active units handling operations such as missile warning, satellite surveillance, space control and space support, Gen. Joseph Dunford said at a meeting of the National Space Council earlier this month.

The rest of the linked article is focused on the politics of Trump’s desire to turn this command into a new branch of the military, a Space Force, while facing opposition in Congress and the Pentagon. The goal however from the beginning was to end the scattershot nature of the military’s space bureaucracy, and it appears, on the surface, that the Space Command has done this.

Whether things stand as they are however is doubtful. Creating a new military branch is a wonderful opportunity for Washington power-brokers to find ways to spend money. For example, some estimates have said that the new Space Force could cost $1 to $2 billion more. You think these thieves and crooks in Washington will be able to resist that?

Of course, there really is no reason for this new agency to cost so much extra. In fact, the Space Command as created now probably adds nothing to the budget, and in fact probably has the chance to save money. And it even makes the military’s space operations more robust and efficient.

I therefore expect the powers-that-be in Washington to move to change that.


One comment

  • mike shupp

    Figure the existing Air Force, Army, and Navy run to 750 billion dollars a year. Ignore the Marine Corps, as just a minor part of the Navy. That works out to about 250 billion for each of the major DoD branches.

    So figure a Space Force impressive enough to satisfy Donald Trump and everybody else in Washington or Moscow or Tehran or Peking is going to cost about 250 billion dollars a year. We aren’t debating the number any more — we’re just all bickering about how fast we get to it. Which likely explains why there’s been so much foot dragging.

    Maybe it’ll all be cheaper if the “starship trooper” types of the future were all stuck on earth, manning PC consoles while AI-equipped spacecraft hundreds of miles overhead fly from satellite to satellite, looking for potential threats, and software decides what deserves to be blown up. Maybe we can deploy a handful of robot night watchmen to prowl about unmanned outposts far away and Joke about the “space marines.” But I suspect it’s inevitable that if humans go into space in any permanent way, soldiers will go along with the settlers and the scientists.

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