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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 to build five Starship/Superheavy prototypes in 2023

According to Elon Musk, SpaceX intends to build five Starship/Superheavy prototypes in 2023 for flight testing.

Assuming they can get launch permits, these five rockets should provide the company ample launch testing capability for at least the next two years, especially if it succeeds in landing these units and can consider reusing them in test flights.

At this moment, the launch permits from the federal government appears the main obstacle to getting this heavy lift reusable rocket tested and operational.

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

    Five rockets in 12 months is an impressive tempo – I mean, it’s makes SLS look embarrassing – but they will need to increase that a great deal, if they are going to meet their HLS milestones for NASA, let alone deploy the Starlink 2.0 constellation on the timetable they’ve committed to. (Let alone, colonize Mars!)

    Curious what Elon’s team thinks they can build in 2024.

  • Shallow Minded Reader

    We’ll know its a go if Elon is spotted at Hunter’s house with large bags of cash.

  • Tom

    Make a deal with Mexico, build a new launch platform a few miles south of the current facility, and send up any rockets that American bureaucrats won’t approve from there. I can see this scenario playing out in the very near future anyways. Elon is surely thinking globally.

  • Tom: I paste this comment in response to every comment making believe Musk can flee the U.S:
    Why is it the first reaction of so many people when I post stories like this is to suggest that Elon Musk flee, to run away? Not only can’t he do it (both for legal and practical reasons), it is the worst possibly reaction to this government overreach.

    It is time all Americans stopped running. There really is no where else to go. We need to stand and fight, and force the government and its intolerant minions to back down. Otherwise, freedom will continue to lose ground everywhere.

    I expect Musk to fight, as he has fought and won previously.

    As for moving:

    1. Legally he can’t. SpaceX as a rocket company falls until strict federal regulations. No matter where he moves those regulations will apply, especially because much of his work force and materials will come from the U.S.

    2. Practically he can’t. The qualified workers and infrastructure doesn’t exist in these other locations. You can’t simply recreate this kind of hi-tech company in South Africa, in Mexico, or any other third world country.

  • Richard M

    What Elon has on his side, beyond merely SpaceX’s popular base of support and like-minded political allies, is that there are a whole lot of people at NASA and the Space Force deeply vested now in Starship succeeding.

    If FAA drags their feet, a bureaucratic scrum could ensue.

  • Jeff Wright

    The recent news of Tesla’s self-driving promotion being staged won’t help. Bob Lutz tried to warn him off trying to automate everything. That’s how Cabada was nearly killed. Reusing rockets is to libertarians what recycling is to Greens.

  • pzatchok

    Nothing can stop Elon now.
    If his car company dies so what he made the cash already.
    Everything is riding on Starlink now. It has the potential of earning him billions a year for almost nothing.
    ‘Even the rocket company is now protected by the simple fact the government needs him more than he needs them. The SLS has failed even if it flies just fine. Its late and over priced. Eventually the politicians will cancel it, quietly but canceled non the less.

    Sending people to Mars is a goal for his people to meet. Something to keep them energized. As soon as he proves its possible the governments of the world will rush to his door with buckets of cash.

  • Richard M

    Reusing rockets is to libertarians what recycling is to Greens.

    The self-driving promotion was indeed a fiasco, but this proposition doesn’t follow from that. SpaceX doesn’t pull off 61 launches in 2022 without reusing first stages.

  • Jeff Wright

    Delta II was also inexpensive-just small, and flew how many times?

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