Conscious Choice cover

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.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and 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.

The upcoming Falcon Heavy schedule

Link here. After the estimated October launch of an Air Force technology demonstration satellite, the next launch is a communications satellite for Saudi Arabia set for the December/January time frame.

After that there are no scheduled Falcon Heavy launches, though three companies, Intelsat, Viasat, and Inmarsat, have options for launches.

In related SpaceX news, the company came within 200 feet of catching one half of the fairing from last week’s launch. The picture of the fairing coming down by parachute is very cool, and indicates that SpaceX is very close to recovering them.


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.

Your support is even more essential to me because I keep this site free from advertisements and do not participate in corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. 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


  • Mike Nelson

    I wonder why they don’t just snag these while on the parafoils with helicopters. Per Falcon 9 specs online the payload fairing only weighs about 4,200 lbs. and per will a Black Hawk can sling 9,000 lbs.

    Seems like 1 ship to play as a helo carrier/recovery ship with two helos could easily start recovering all of the fairings with the tech in hand.

    I venture it could be less expensive too as you’d only need one ship to recover both halves (with their ship catching scheme they’re going to need two), and surplus Black Hawks look to cost only about $1M.

  • Localfluff

    Maybe Musk has got some ulterior motive for wanting to steer fairings in the atmosphere with parachutes and cold gas thrusters? (Large) helicopters and sea landings are not available on Mars.

  • Zed_WEASEL

    The idea of a Blackhawk helo snagging a SpaceX PLF half is amusing.

    The physical dimensions of a SpaceX PLF half is 13.9 x 5.2 x 2.6 meters. Slightly bigger than a Blackhawk airframe. It is doubtful that the Blackhawk or any similar size helicopter will be able handle the aerodynamic forces that is induced by such a large object along with the parafoil attached to the PLF. Especially the concave side of the PLF facing the down draft of the helo rotor wash.

    Also the C-130 can not physically bring a SpaceX PLF inside the cargo bay. So you need to convert a C-17.

  • Steve Cooper

    You don’t catch a fairing into the chopper fuselage. you use a hook to grab the chute and let it hang.

  • Zed_WEASEL

    Steve Cooper wrote:

    You don’t catch a fairing into the chopper fuselage. you use a hook to grab the chute and let it hang.

    Didn’t post anything about hauling the PLF into a helo. The PLF and para-foil causes too much drag for a Blackhawk size helo to handle as a sling load, especially with the down draft from the rotor wash.

  • Col Beausabre

    Zed, who says yer limited to Hawk? The Marines just took delivery of the CH-53K King Stallion, just a bit smaller and less powerful than, the Russian’s MI-26, as World’s most powerful helicopter…so buy some of the CH-53E Super Stallions that are gonna be displaced and sold off (or if the Echoes go to the Reserves, then the birds the USMCR have been flying….somethings gotta be surplus, the USMC/USN/USAF have been flying various models of the 53 series since the mid-sixties, most famously by the Air Force on Combat Search and Rescue in Vietnam but also….

    “The success of this project led eventually to the USAF CH-3 Mid-Air Recovery Systems (MARS) that performed hundreds of midair recoveries of reconnaissance remotely piloted vehicles during the Vietnam War. Photo reconnaissance drones used USAF C-130s as launch vehicles and CH-3 and CH-53 helicopters as recovery vehicles.”

  • Zed_WEASEL

    Maybe the CH-47F, CH-53K or the Mi-26 could do a mid-air PLF recovery. They will have to do some flight testings to find out.

    The issue is not the helo’s lifting capability, even the Blackhawk is more than capable in that department. It is the helo’s ability to handle a large and fluffy slinged object (PLF & para-foil) that is affected by the down draft from the rotor wash.

    The PLF is bigger than the typical yellow school bus.

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 *