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My February birthday fund-raising campaign for Behind the Black it now over. I sincerely and with deep gratitude thank all those who donated. Without your support I could not keep doing this, not so much because of the need for income to pay the bills, but because it tells me that there are people out there who want me to do this work. For those who did not contribute during the campaign, please consider adding your vote of support to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


1. Zelle: This is the only internet method that charges no fees. All you have to do is use the Zelle link at your internet bank and give my name and email address (zimmerman at nasw dot org). What you donate is what I get.


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SpaceX launches cargo Dragon to ISS

Capitalism in space: SpaceX tonight successfully used its Falcon 9 rocket to put a cargo Dragon capsule into orbit and on its way to ISS.

The first stage successfully completed its seventh flight, landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic. The Dragon freighter is making its third flight, and will dock with ISS on the morning of March 16th.

The 2023 launch race:

17 SpaceX
9 China
4 Russia
1 Rocket Lab
1 Japan
1 India

American private enterprise now leads China 18 to 9 in the national rankings, and the entire world combined 18 to 15. SpaceX alone leads entire world, including the rest of the U.S., 17 to 16.

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.


  • Richard M

    So the pace is now a launch every 4.3 days. Rated out for the year, they’re on pace for, let’s see…85 launches.

    Yeah, that’s a little short of Elon’s goal. But that’s still insane: 85 launches of a single rocket type. By a private company. In a single year. And they will land and recover the first stage for all of them. With no failures. And I’m not even counting any Starship launches!

    Not even the Soviet Union in its glory days pulled that off. Let us never take this for granted.

  • Richard M wrote, “Not even the Soviet Union in its glory days pulled that off.”

    Actually this is not quite accurate. Credit should be given where credit is due. From 1975 to 1988 the Soviet Union consistently topped 85 launches per year, and from 1968 to 1990 topped 70 launches each year.

    Of course, none used a reusable first stage, and of course all had the backing of an entire nation, instead of the resources of a single private company. Nonetheless, during its last decades the Soviets had a very vigorous space industry run by its top-down government.

  • Richard M

    Hi Bob,

    I certainly do not wish to be remiss in giving full credit to the Soviet space program, which – however noxious its ruling regime was – did some truly impressive things!

    But I was trying to add the qualifiers here, and maybe I was sloppy about it. They DID have a number of years where they topped 85 orbital launches, but a) they employed multiple launch vehicle types, b) they always had at least a couple failures, and c) they never landed and reused any of the rockets. And this is SpaceX’s real set of unique achievements.

  • Richard M: Of course all of your additional points illustrate well the amazing nature of SpaceX’s achievement, without doubt.

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