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In celebration of my birthday on February 5, 2023, I am running a campaign to raise money to support my work here at Behind The Black. I do not run ads. My only support comes from my readers, which leaves me utterly free to speak my mind openly about space, culture, and politics. Please consider supporting me in this work by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, in any one of the following ways:


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SpaceX releases spectacular footage of another vertical take-off and landing test of their Falcon 9R rocket.

The competition heats up: SpaceX releases spectacular footage of another vertical take-off and landing test of their Falcon 9R rocket, this time flying over 3,000 feet in the air.

Video below the fold. What I think everyone, including me, has missed so far about both the Grasshopper and the Falcon 9R test flights is that the test vehicle not only was able to land safely using its rockets, both vehicles were quickly turned around and flown again. This certainly lends weight to the feasibility of the company’s plan to make their first stage reusable.

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.


  • Cotour

    Very, very cool!

    Just like they used to land rocket ships on other planets in the sci fi movies of my youth.

  • t-dub

    I thought the Grasshopper was cool but this thing is amazing. It’s a reusable flying building that lands!!! Plus the fact SpaceX has leased Pad 39A for 20 years (unrelated to this project) gives me “some” hope for the future. I love this up and coming little space company, they make me happy.

  • I’m as impressed by the supporting technologies as I am the flight hardware. When the movie Apollo 13 was filmed, the production crew had to CGI the launch sequence because ‘engineers weren’t concerned with making the rocket look cool’. Now with affordable drones and HD cameras, the launches look cool, and provide unprecedented engineering data. As ‘the competition heats up’, I can see a time when companies will specialize in providing flight video for space launch concerns. This is how economies grow.

  • FYI, there already are companies specializing in providing flight videos for space launch concerns. I saw one such company give a presentation at a space engineering conference a few years ago, showing the videos they took for SpaceX during its Falcon 1 launches.

  • Pzatchok

    The cool part was the craft passing through the different wind streams.

    You can see it tilt and come back to center as it rises to its final height.

    A larger in radius rocket with a more engines would probably prove even more stable in flight.


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