The final week of my annual February birthday month fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black has begun. I continue to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support, including numerous donations and a surge of new subscribers willing to commit to donating anywhere from $2 to $25 per month. Wow! The numbers are too many to send out individual thank you’s, so please forgive me for thanking you all with this one announcement.


The campaign however must go on, especially because I have added more regular features to my daily workload. In addition to my daily never-ending reporting on space exploration and science, my regular launch reports, my monthly sunspot updates, the regular cool images, and the evening pauses I post each evening, I have now added a daily weekday post I have entitled "Today's blacklisted American." Its goal is not to discuss policy or politics, but to note the endless examples occurring across the United States where some jack-booted thug or thugs think it is proper and acceptable to censor, blackball, cancel, and destroy an innocent American, merely because that American has expressed or holds an opinion or is of a race or religion that is no longer considered acceptable to the dominant leftist and bigoted culture. I want to make clear to every American that a large number of your fellow citizens no longer believe in the enlightened concept of freedom of speech or the idea of treating each person by the quality of their character.


Instead, they wish to shut you up, and oppress you if you happen to disagree with them or have the wrong skin color. This evil must be exposed.


To continue to do this into the foreseeable future however I need your support. If you are one of those millions who read Behind the Black each month, please consider donating or subscribing. Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

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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
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SpaceX launches another 60 Starlink satellites

Capitalism in space: SpaceX tonight successfully launched another 60 Starlink satellites using its Falcon 9 rocket.

The first stage completed its fifth flight, landing successfully on the drone ship in the Atlantic. Both fairings were also used.

The 2021 launch race:

4 SpaceX
2 China
1 Rocket Lab
1 Virgin Orbit
1 Russia

The U.S. now leads China 6 to 2 in the national rankings. SpaceX had planned another launch later this morning, but they have delayed that launch one day until tomorrow.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.


  • geoffc

    Interestingly this was the Starlink-18 mission, which jumped ahead of Starlink-17 that has been delaying, one day at a time for over a week.

    Also it was a 27 day reuse (jan 7th was last flight) so fastest turnaround (previous 38 days on a mission earlier in Jan, and before that 51 days) so far. And it is on a downward trend of time to refurb, which also means it is cheaper to refurb since one of the main cost drivers is man-hours.

  • wayne

    great factoids!

    Anyone done a back-o-the-envelope guesstimate on what the marginal cost to launch each starlink satellite, actually is?

  • Cotour

    Biden purposefully curtailing Musk and Spacex in order to give the Chinese an advantage?

    ” It is unlikely that the Biden administration seeks to continue that policy, as the Biden team attempts to stabilize deteriorating relations with Beijing over the next few years.”

    Nah, Joe Biden would never do something to give the Chinese an advantage over America regarding space. Silly.

    I wonder if “The smartest guy”, Joe knows, his son Hunter, is advising him on China? Nah, again, silly.

  • Richard M

    SpaceX has become a space superpower all unto itself.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Elon needs to learn how to offer a bribe to the Bidens… offer to let Joe be ceremonial valet parking attendant on OCISLY, and Hunter can do the honors on JRTI.

    Pretty soon, Elon’s walking into the Oval Office saying “Those drapes have GOT to go!!”

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