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’s first recovered first stage placed on display

The competion on display: SpaceX has installed its first recovered first stage on permanent display outside the company’s offices in California.

The link includes a lot of pictures showing the installation process, where they used a crane to place the stage upright.


I must unfortunately ask you for your financial support because I do not depend on ads and rely entirely on the generosity of readers to keep Behind the Black running. You can either make a one time donation for whatever amount you wish, or you sign up for a monthly subscription ranging from $2 to $15 through Paypal or $3 to $50 through Patreon.

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.

Your support is even more essential to me because I not only keep this site free from advertisements, I do not use the corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook to promote my work. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.

You can provide that support to 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

Or you can donate by using Zelle through your bank. You will need to give my name and email address (found at the bottom of the "About" page). The best part of this electronic option is that no fees will be deducted! What you donate will be what I receive.


  • I experience cognitive dissonance when I see ‘SpaceX’ and ‘California’ in the same sentence.

  • ken anthony

    Watch out for the aluminum scrappers… they’ll take pieces of anything not under constant guard.

  • geoffc

    @Ken Anthony: People have found the last Falcon 1, sitting in a junk yard, near SpaceX HQ via GMaps satellite data. So that one has lasted pretty well. Cannot leave the real engines out, since ITAR issues will mean people in jail.

    Have to imagine, due just to ITAR, they have reasonably good security at the plant. Gotta imagine someone driving up with a crane to steal the stage should be pretty noticable.

    Maybe the plot of Oceans 8 (the all women reboot, since Ghostbusters did so amazingly well) can be to steal the Falcon 9?

  • ken anthony

    geoffc, The danger isn’t someone with a crane. The danger is a criminal with a cutting tool. Construction sites, with workers every day, have found aluminum and copper missing from the day before. Even tractor trailers parked overnight have had sections cut out of them. I’m not saying it will happen, but I know criminals (Phoenix is full of them.)

    You and I look around and see landscape. Criminals see dollars.

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 *