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. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

SpaceX successfully tests core stage for June Falcon Heavy launch

Capitalism in space: SpaceX has successfully completed a static fire test of the core stage that it will use in its next Falcon Heavy commercial launch, now set for June.

This launch will be for the Air Force, and will place 23 satellites into a variety of different orbits. It will also help the Air Force certify the Falcon Heavy for future military launches.


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:


Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to

Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652


  • David

    Tom, is there a good reason for posting that old news here, as opposed to the actual capsule explosion thread, where it already is? Or are you just one if those people who can’t resist a chance to spread anti SpaceX fud?

  • Irv

    Dear Bob,

    It’s a genuine pleasure to listen to you and John. I particularly like the way John tries to “guide you”. But we both know he can’t do that.

    A couple questions if you ever get the time.

    1. I understand that the data is coming back at 1 kbs but is that the best picture they have? Perhaps Ultimaus really looks like the photo but it seems blurry to me. Is it my impatience or is that a poor photo.

    2. Jaxa photos are nothing to phone home about but are they being very cautious moving forward or are they concerned about overtime?

    Constructive criticism: I listen to you very closely because you have excellent insight but a the end your comments your voice fades away or drops off. Right as you are making your point. Fortunately I can replay it but even with the volume up the sound isn’t there. My point is I really really want to hear your words but they aren’t there.

    Nevertheless keep up the good work. Perhaps you get John to loosen up.



  • Tom


    Why, yes, there was a good reason to post that “old news” as it was the first video I’d seen that, reportedly, showed the actual event. If that was posted earlier on BtB, I missed it completely and apologize for offending your obviously keen sensibilities. We all know that SpaceX and NASA have not exactly been the font of information regarding this event. I did see the original thread but couldn’t locate it at the time I found the video. Being a huge fan of SpaceX, and Behind the Black, I don’t shy away from transparency regarding honest mishaps as they are truly lessons learned; especially when no one gets hurt. And, Yes! I can resist those chances to “spread anti SpaceX fud?”. In fact, I can assure you that I’ve never spread a fud in my entire life.


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 *