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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.


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.

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Virgin Galactic reveals issue with WhiteKnightTwo

Capitalism in space: On the same day that Virgin Galactic unveiled a $130 million loss in its first quarter report, it also announced that it might have to delay the next flight of its Unity suborbital spacecraft because of an undisclosed “wear-and-tear issue” on its carrier airplane.

From the second link:

[Mike Moses, president of space missions and safety], in response to later questions from analysts, did not disclose the specific component of the aircraft that was at the heart of the issue, but described it as a “family of items that relate to fatigue and long-term stress” of the airplane. It was not an issue with the number of flights of VMS Eve, which first flew in 2008 and has made fewer than 300 flights since.

Engineers are currently examining the plane to determine if additional maintenance is needed now to correct that problem, with an update expected next week. Virgin Galactic had planned to perform work on the plane this fall during a downtime that would also include work on VSS Unity, but Moses said engineers are now looking at whether some of that work needs to be moved up.

If maintenance is needed now, it would delay the schedule of flight tests for SpaceShipTwo, but Moses said it was “a little too early” to know how long that would be.

They had previously announced that the next flight would be in May. They will decide in the next week whether to delay it.

Meanwhile, the company’s stock price continues to tumble, dropping from a high of about $62 earlier this year to a low of about $14 today. And I would say that the price is still over-priced. The path to profit for Virgin Galactic has become extremely narrow, with few options and not much margin, especially with Blue Origin now only two months away from its first commercial suborbital tourist flight.

Richard Branson started Virgin Galactic shortly after the SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004, promising hundreds of commercial passenger flights per year in only a few years. Seventeen years later no such flights have ever occurred. Worse, not only will Blue Origin likely do the first commercial suborbital flight first, SpaceX and Axiom are likely to complete the first orbital tourism flights before Virgin Galactic.

No harm to Branson however. He has sold off most of his stock in the company, and did it when its price was still high.

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.


  • Col Beausabre

    It’s amazing to me (and I have an MBA with a concentration in Accounting and Finance and worked in Treasury (the part of the company that interacted with Wall Street) for one of the largest companies in the world) after I retired from the Army) that Branson has not been prosecuted for securities fraud (classic “Pump N Dump”) and Virgin Galactic delisted from the exchanges. Sure looks like it’s headed for penny stock territory – you know, you buy a hundred shares of a Canadian mine up in the Yukon for five bucks as a gag gift. Or maybe it will declare bankruptcy before then,

  • Col Beausabre

    For “has” please substitute “has not”

  • Col Beausabre: I have corrected the post, knowing now for sure what you intended to say.

  • Jeff Wright

    The White Knight should finish its days as a Coast Guard drone sent to drop raft/relief packages to distressed mariners and such.
    SS2 would be mounted in front of Spaceport as a display of that state science fiction museum. Let the kids play in it.

  • pzatchok

    I wonder if its a carbon fiber problem?

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