Scroll down to read this post.


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.


2. Donate through Gabpay, using my email address zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

3. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

4. A Paypal Donation:

4. A Paypal subscription:

5. Donate by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman and mailed to
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

SpaceX launches two SES communication satellites

Only a few hours after SpaceX launched 52 Starlink satellites from California, the company successfully launched two communications satellites for the Luxembourg company SES, using its Falcon 9 rocket launching from Cape Canaveral.

The first stage completed its sixth flight, landing safely on a drone ship in the Atlantic. The rocket’s two fairings completed their third and seventh flights, respectively.

The leaders in the 2023 launch race:

19 SpaceX
11 China
4 Russia
2 Rocket Lab

American private enterprise now leads China 21 to 11 in the national rankings of this year’s launches, and the whole world combined 21 to 17. SpaceX by itself is tied with the rest of the world, including other American companies, 19 to 19.

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.


  • Jeff Wright

    SES—they’re a big deal.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Mr Z,

    Did you not used to have a link for story tips along with your evening pauses?

  • sippin_bourbon: I have periodically posted the guidelines below, while mentioning that if you have something you want to suggest, mention this fact in the comments (without posting a link), and I will get in touch with you. I have emailed you.

    The guidelines for submitting Evening Pauses:
    1. The subject line should say “evening pause.”
    2. Please send only one suggestion per email.
    3. Variety! Don’t send me five from the same artist. I can only use one. Pick your favorite and send that.
    4. Live performance preferred.
    5. Quirky technology, humor, and short entertaining films also work.
    6. Suggestions should generally be short, less than 10 minutes, preferable under 5 minutes
    7. Search BtB first to make sure your suggestion hasn’t already been posted.
    8. I might not respond immediately, as I schedule these in a bunch.
    9. Avoid the politics of the day. The pause is a break from such discussion.

  • Edward

    I remember less than a decade ago, more than five decades into the space age, ULA made a big deal out of launching twice within six days. Now, about a decade and a half after its first orbital launch, SpaceX has launched twice on the same day, and it is *yawn* no big deal, because it isn’t even the first time SpaceX has done so.

    What a difference a little commercial operations makes. I can hardly wait until Rocket lab begins multiple launches on the same day, and until even more commercial companies launch multiple times daily, too. Then we will really be “cooking with gas.”

    Because commercial space has made access to space more regular and less expensive, there are far more companies today doing business in space than there were before commercial space made its mark:

    Lower entry barriers

    Technology evolution, decreasing launch costs, and higher demand for space products and services have created opportunities for entrepreneurs. The pandemic provided additional momentum with virtual incubators and accelerators. Investors, talent, suppliers, customers, and other resources became suddenly reachable through videoconference calls. Additionally, large and well-capitalized space companies, such as Blue Origin, are actively working on initiatives to help reduce barriers and costs to access and stay in space.

    ULA was a bit optimistic in 2016 when they predicted 20 people working in space by 2021, but the attitude and eagerness still exists inside many new and old companies. (“ULA Innovation: CisLunar-1000” 7 minutes)

    We are held back in manned space, because we are still in competition with government. Bigelow’s space habitat company went belly up because government delayed commercial manned space. Virgin Orbit is in serious danger of going belly up due to government delays in approving its launch license. Starship is still waiting for a launch approval two years after the FAA received the application. Boo government!

    Fortunately, NASA is working to solve, by the end of the decade, the problem of government competition. NASA’s plan is to get out of the way of commercial manned space and to use their commercial products instead of its own. Hurray NASA!

    Joe, one of the commenters here on BTB, started his own company to supply solar arrays for small cubesats. He is part of the solution. Hurray Joe!

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 *