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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.


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Russia’s Proton rocket launches weather satellite

Russia this morning used its Proton rocket to launch a weather satellite from Kazahkstan, successfully completing its first launch in 2023.

The 2023 launch race:

8 SpaceX
5 China
1 Rocket Lab
1 Japan
1 Russia

American private enterprise still leads China 9 to 5 in the national rankings, and the entire globe combined 9 to 7.

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.


  • Joe

    I wonder if China will attempt to catch SpaceX and the rest of the US this year? They did alright in 2022 but Musk is planning a lot of flights.

  • pzatchok

    I do not think so.

    China did everything possible last year just to beat Space X by one, and that included several “secret test vehicle” launches of very short lived low orbit satellites.
    And a few were launched with their old solid fuel military rockets. ICBM launchers.

    I just do not think they have the payloads to keep up with last years pace.

  • Ray Van Dune

    I was planning to watch a Starlink launch at 2:32 pm Pacific, and when I went to the link at Next Spaceflight, I saw it had been shifted to 5:32 pm, within the last few hours since I last checked! These last-minute several-hour shifts seem to have been happening a lot lately. Is SpaceX perhaps trying to keep someone off-balance?

  • Ray Van Dune: The launch today was never a Starlink launch. It was a launch putting up satellites for different customers. It was also supposed to launch yesterday but weather forced a scrub to today.

    SpaceX needs to have weather right at both the launchpad and in the ocean where the 1st stage will land. It thus also requires it to be able to shift schedules fast and frequently in order to launch as much as it does. Thus, these frequent late changes are simply its normal way of doing business.

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