Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work here at Behind the Black. I keep the website clean from pop-ups and annoying demands. Instead, I depend entirely on my readers to support me. Though this means I am sacrificing some income, it also means that I remain entirely independent from outside pressure. By depending solely on donations and subscriptions from my readers, no one can threaten me with censorship. You don't like what I write, you can simply go elsewhere.


You can support me either by giving a one-time contribution or a regular subscription. There are five ways of doing so:


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. Patreon: Go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation.

3. 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


You can also support me by buying one of my books, as noted in the boxes interspersed throughout the webpage or shown in the menu above. And if you buy the books through the ebookit links, I get a larger cut and I get it sooner.

The ups and downs of capitalism in space

Two stories today illustrate how allowing freedom and capitalism to rule in the development of America’s aerospace industry carries with it the potential for wonderful achievements as well as depressing failures.

First the potential failure. Despite having successfully flown several missions demonstrating its orbital tug and service module for cubesats, the company Momentus has been forced to lay off 30% of its staff because of dwindling cash reserves.

Momentus reported a record quarterly revenue of $1.7 million in the second quarter, the first time it reported revenues of more than $1 million in a quarter. However, the company reported a net loss of $18.8 million and ended the quarter with $21.6 million of cash and equivalents on hand.

The company is presently scrambling to find new sources of investment capital, as it does not expect its income to grow sufficiently in the next year to keep itself above water, even though it should successfully fly more flights of its Vigoride orbital tug as well as a new service module version.

Next we have the potential achievement: The financial status of the startup satellite company Terran Orbital appears healthy and strong, mostly because of a $2.6 billion contract to build 300 satellites for the wireless communications company Rivada Space Networks. The first $180 million payment under that contract is expected this year.

At the same time, there are storm clouds in the distance, as there remain unanswered questions about whether Rivada has the resources sufficient to fulfill the contract.

During Terran Orbital’s Aug. 15 earnings call, H.C. Wainwright & Co analyst Scott Buck said Rivada’s vagueness about its plans for financing the constellation has caused “investor hesitation around the contract.”

Terran Orbital has already a number of successes building satellites for others, with its most significant achievement the CAPSTONE lunar orbiter it built for NASA. If the Rivada contract falls through I suspect the company will still be able to garner plenty of customers to survive.

For Momentus the situation is more dire, especially because it already faces strong competition from a number of other orbital tug companies.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


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 *