Scroll down to read this post.


Please consider supporting my work, as I take no advertisements nor accept any sponsors in order to keep the website clean, easy to read, and to avoid any accusations of conflict of interest. Your support leaves me entirely independent, able to say whatever I think while being free from censorship or reprisals.


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

Watching Starship #9’s flight, take 2

LabPadre's Starship 24/7 live feed, at 9:12 am (Central), February 2,, 2021
LabPadre’s Starship 24/7 live feed, 9:12 am (Central), February 2,, 2021.
Click to go to it.

Capitalism in space: It appears that SpaceX has finally gotten approval from our benevolent government to attempt today a flight of the ninth prototype of its Starship. to a height of approximately 33,000 feet. The screen capture to the right from this morning shows Starship’s #9 and #10, both on their own launchpads. I think #9 is the one on the right.

As the company’s Starship website still notes,

Similar to the high-altitude flight test of Starship serial number 8 (SN8), SN9 will be powered through ascent by three Raptor engines, each shutting down in sequence prior to the vehicle reaching apogee – approximately 10 km in altitude. SN9 will perform a propellant transition to the internal header tanks, which hold landing propellant, before reorienting itself for reentry and a controlled aerodynamic descent.

The Starship prototype will descend under active aerodynamic control, accomplished by independent movement of two forward and two aft flaps on the vehicle. All four flaps are actuated by an onboard flight computer to control Starship’s attitude during flight and enable precise landing at the intended location. SN9’s Raptor engines will then reignite as the vehicle attempts a landing flip maneuver immediately before touching down on the landing pad adjacent to the launch mount.

SpaceX will be providing a live stream, which I shall embed here at Behind the Black once it becomes available about ten minutes before launch. In addition, there are these live streams available:

The SpaceX live feed will provide the best visuals, but that will not go live until just before launch. Right now I think the Labpadre live feed is my preferred choice because it provides a quick checklist on the screen telling you the countdown status, which in turn gives you an idea how soon the launch might be. For example, when the sirens sound, it means they are approximately 10 minutes to launch.

While this flight will likely be as epic as the flight of Starship #8, there is no guarantee it will occur today. Until they actually lights the candle, much of the action today will be like watching paint dry.

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


  • creeper

    Thank you for this link. Wish the tip could’ve been bigger.

  • Diane Wilson

    NSF describing there livestream as “roadside rocket science.” Ha!

  • Lee Stevenson

    Great news, and can’t wait to watch the video… ( It’s bed time here..)
    “It appears that SpaceX has finally gotten approval from our benevolent government”… 48 hours is not “Finally”, indeed, it seems to me that if the launch was given the thumbs up after a genuine legally correct challenge, then whatever authority which gave the go ahead should be praised rather than condemned for the speed of the decision. I know that no one here likes the government you have, but it seems to me that this incident actually shows an efficacy of government, rather than the reverse. We should all keep our fingers crossed, across the whole political spectrum, that this trend continues!

  • Diane Wilson

    SN9 failed landing. Looks like a Raptor disintegrated on restart.

  • Todd Brown

    Lapadre livestream was absolutely horrible.

    Would’ve actually been nice to see the rocket reach it’s 10 kilometers.

    They just stayed on the launch pad throughout.

    I’d recommend something different.
    In addition, I’d like to hear progress and what’s going on throughout the launch.

  • Todd Brown: I agree. I watched SpaceX’s live feed, but periodically switched to both LabPadre and NASASpaceflight. The latter did a much better job, though their cameras don’t have as high a resolution. Good resolution is useless if the camera is not aimed properly.

    I will adjust for the next flight.

  • Todd Brown

    Thank you Robert. I’m glad you agree.
    Looking forward to your next prodcast about what you think about this on John Batchelor.

    Happy Caving.

  • Jeff Wright

    I am starting to think that Musk and Bezos need to work together-but perhaps both under a former Rockwell man…maybe a James Martin, who wrote for the Journal of Rockets for many years. Starship is a defacto shuttle replacement, and the whole LV stack is just the Space Freighter concept. Starship may need wings. A Rockwell man to lead Boeing funded by Bezos and Musk could pave the way to powersats yet.

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 *