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

Starship #11 debris fuels environmentalist opposition

They’re coming for you next: The debris that fell as far as five and a half miles away when SpaceX’s Starship #11 prototype exploded just before landing on March 30th has increased the already vocal opposition from various environmentalist activists of the space project.

Environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club, the Friends of Wildlife Corridor, and concerned citizens in the environmental research field have expressed their dissent about the SpaceX activities at Boca Chica.

Chris Sandoval, a science teacher in Brownsville with degrees in Wildlife and Fisheries and Ecotoxicology, has put forth a research paper explaining the possible effects of SpaceX activity in the surrounding natural habitats and economic consequences as a result of their expansion in the region.

Sandoval says research would show that contamination from rocket fluids would harm wildlife in the surrounding area. “Contaminants such as those of hydrocarbons are able to kill aquatic life, both vertebrate and invertebrate, at very low concentrations, especially when it’s in a semi-enclosed area as the Lagunas are,” explained Sandoval.

And yet, none of these claims seem to apply to the government-run spaceports in Florida and California, both of which are also surrounded by wildlife refuges. Why is that? Why do these environmentalists have a particular opposition to the spaceport of this private company, but none or little opposition to the government’s? Could it be that what they really oppose is private enterprise, and are using the environment as a tool to destroy it?

I should add, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that manages this refuge, SpaceX has been working closely with them on mitigating the damage, which in the end I suspect will be quite minimal. The ecology is far stronger than these environmentalist like to portray it. What SpaceX did hardly compares to the damage a hurricane would cause, and that is not an unusual event at this Gulf coast location.

Whether this environmental opposition to SpaceX will result in any major delays or obstacles remains to be seen. Under a Trump administration I would not be too concerned. Under today’s Democratic Party Biden administration, who knows? The tendency of Democrats is to regulate, and to use their power to squeeze others. So far that has not yet happened aggressively in connection to SpaceX, though there have been signs that the Biden administration is interested in increasing the regulatory roadblocks SpaceX must face. We will only have to wait and see.

Above all this increases the urgency for SpaceX to shift as soon as possible its Starship and Super Heavy test flights to the two oil-rigs it purchased and are refitting as floating launch and landing platforms. Once the bulk of those test flights are far away, out in the ocean, the political clout of these protesters will be minimized.

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.


  • Jay

    Last time I looked, I am sure I will be corrected, the engines being used for these tests are Raptors, not Merlins, and so using methane, not RP-1 (kerosene). Methane is not hurting the environment and it is one of the cleanest fuels to burn yielding only water and carbon dioxide.

    These organizations are just trying to shake down SpaceX for money. I don’t see these people going after all the other what they classify as “hydrocarbon contaminant” companies in oil rich Texas.

  • Richard M

    So I actually went and downloaded that paper by Chris Sandoval. Given his background, I was expecting your run of the mill environmental impact statement, albeit of course with the “impact” evaluation dialed up to 11.

    But . . . good gravy. It’s a mostly a class, gender, and race warfare jeremaid, right from title: “SpaceX: a neocolonizers fantasy.” If anything, Bob, you’ve understated things. He really does hate the very *idea* of SpaceX, not just NIMBY freaking out about *where* they’re doing what they do, or how. “Brownsville does not need more businesses, it needs services.” Yeah. He actually said that.

    “Could it be that what they really oppose is private enterprise, and are using the environment as a tool to destroy it?” In Chris Sandoval’s case, I don’t think there’s even the slightest doubt about it.

  • Richard M: Heh. Do I know these people, or do I know them? I know it is wrong, but I really didn’t need to read Sandoval’s paper to know it was what you describe.

    What I find despicable is the journalist who quotes him extensively without doing the slightest research into his work. Had that research been done, Sandoval would not have been quoted.

  • Richard M: Note also that this so-called research paper does not appear to be published anywhere. It is thus simply Sandoval’s political opinion that he put out on the web. To label it as a “research paper”, as this journalist does, is journalistic malpractice.

  • Jeff Wright

    Deepwater Horizon goo gives water launch plausible deniability. SPSS just a demonstator-might help blunt things. Remember-a SPS is a defacto SEP if filled with radon which gets rid of it. You may not think much of Michael Moore.-but his “Planet Of The Humans” uncovered some dark truths of the negative effects of wind farms…I must say I was suprised. If Musk is more diplomatic-it might earn him points. Cutting off our opposible thumbs and going back to the caves is not the answer.

  • Richard M

    Meanwhile, Elon the Environmental Destroyer intervenes personally to help save dying sea turtles on South Padre:

    From what I’ve heard, by the way, lots of those volunteers on the beach were SpaceX employees.

  • Jeff Wright

    He’s nicer than me-I often order the shark-fin soup just to hear tablewear clank over muffled curses…

  • Xopher

    @Richard M.

    I can’t find Chris Sandoval’s “research paper” anywhere.

  • Cutting off our opposible thumbs and going back to the caves is not the answer.

    Our green-obsessed neighbors have forgotten that prosperity and technological advancement give us the “breathing space” to actually care about the environment enough to work to keep it clean and thriving.

    OTOH, when people are questioning where their next meal’s coming from, they are more likely to filet Willy than free him.

    Or make turtle soup on a cold day,

    Though that situation might produce a more efficient use of the shark, than just eating the fin …

  • Xopher: There is a link in the article that I link to. For you convenience, you can find it here.

  • Richard M

    As Bob says, the Sandoval paper has not been published anywhere, so the only place to even find the link seems to be in the Valley Central news article.

    And no wonder: It’s basically an extended and rambling rant. Even with as far as standards have fallen in professional social sciences, there are still minimal standards to get published. Like, you know, footnotes.

    Maybe he could get it run at Slate.

  • Jeff Wright

    He’d have really hated FDR. This is proof that the Green thing to do is not necessarily the right thing to do. If I could go back in time and eliminate FDR from history…libertarians would be glad. And the Greens would be happy with no public works…that helped us win WWII., which itself was not a green act. What was done in the skies over Ploesti by B-17s ranked right down there with Saddam’s dynamiting of Kuwaiti oil fields—done because the best way to bring a nation to its knees—be it ice storm, Greta or LeMay—is to go after that nation’s hydrocarbon infrastructure.

    But Hitler was a green. Without mean old FDR, the wetlands would have remained pristine, and the Axis powers would certainly have depopulated the Earth! Sandoval would no doubt be pleased.

    Somebody tell that eco-communist dirtbag that the dinos went extinct because they had no space program—how manatees warm themselves in power plant discharges—and how….if you held nature itself up to EPA standards (Valley of 10,000 Smokes anyone?) Gaia herself would fail the grade.

    That fool should help with human depopulation however, by taking a long walk off a short plank.

  • Col Beausabre

    Jeff Wright, There were no B-17’s on Operation Tidal Wave , the low level strike on Ploesti (Aug 1 1943) – ,just B-24’s, the Forts didn’t have the range. Some idea of the German response is that every man who participated was decorated for bravery. Most of the men listed below died leading their men against what may have been the most heavily defended target in the world

    Eighth Air Force
    44th Bombardment Group (Heavy) (“Flying Eight Balls”), Col. Leon W. Johnson (MOH)
    93rd Bombardment Group (Heavy) (“Ted Timberlake’s Travelling Circus”), Lt. Col. Addison E. Baker°(MOH) Maj. John L. Jerstad( (MOH)
    389th Bombardment Group (Heavy) (“Sky Scorpions”), Col. Jack W. Wood°° (MOH) 2nd Lt. Lloyd Herbert Hughes(MOH)

    Ninth Air Force[
    98th Bombardment Group (Heavy) (“Pyramiders”), Col. John R. Kane (MOH)
    376th Bombardment Group (Heavy) (“Liberandos”), Col. Keith K. Compton (DSC)

    MOH Medal of Honor
    DSC Distinguished Service Cross

    You are correct correct in regards to oil. Once the air commanders were forced to concentrate their efforts on the Axis petroleum industry, the effect was decisive (in that any part of the air war over Europe was decisive. German tanks rolled to a stop, the U-boats couldn’t sail and the Luftwaffe couldn’t fly.

    I have to agree with the Admiral in “The Bridges at Toko ri” in asking “Where do we get such men?” I am just thankful that we do

  • wayne

    Good stuff.

    “The Second World Wars”
    Victor Davis Hanson (2018)
    Lecture #2 “Air”

  • Jeff Wright

    Not that getting Baku would have helped Germany-how would they get that oil back? The one man who pushed for German four engine bombers was killed in an accident-but my memory fails me often.

  • Star Bird

    Why don,t those Eco-Freaks realy contribute to the Enviroment b Building some Birdhouses and Feeders Clean up the litter left behind after one of their Earth Day Celebrations and Plant some Trees or would they just rather continue to seek the Spotlight in the M.S. Media

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 *