Apollo 11 First Stage liftoff

Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space cover

After being in print for twenty years, the Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space, covering everything that was learned on every single space mission in the 20th century, has finally gone out of print.

I presently have my last four hardback copies available for sale. The book sold new for about $90. To get your own autographed copy of this now rare collector's item, please send a $120 check (which includes shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

"Useful to space buffs and generalists, comprehensive but readable, Bob Zimmerman's Encyclopedia belongs front and center on everyone's bookshelf." -- Mike Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut


"The Chronological Encylopedia of Discoveries in Space is no passionless compendium of information. Robert Zimmerman's fact-filled reports, which cover virtually every spacecraft or probe to have ventured into the heavens, relate the scientific and technical adventure of space exploration enthusiastically and with authority." -- American Scientist

An evening pause: This was originally posted as an evening pause in 2016. I think that today, the fiftieth anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, it is appropriate to repost it. As I wrote then,

Though the video is more than 8 minutes long, the actual events recorded lasted only about 30 seconds, beginning 5 seconds before T minus 0.

What struck me most as I watched this was the incredible amount of complex engineering that went into every single small detail of the rocket and the launch tower and launchpad. We tend to take for granted the difficulty of rocket engineering. This video will make you appreciate it again.

It is also mesmerizing. A lot happens in a very short period of time.

Tonight’s evening pause begins eight days of pauses dedicated to celebrating, and reliving, the Apollo 11 mission. To the Moon!



  • wayne

    Yes, these engineering camera’s provide exceptional views.

    exceptionally clear tracking film of the launch for almost 3:30 minutes, including 1st stage & engine skirt separation, and escape tower jettison

  • wayne

    excellent on-board film of 1st stage separation

    Apollo Saturn V staging (at aproximately real speed)

    “These images were taken on the Apollo 4 and Apollo 6 Saturn V test flights. They are often mistakenly attributed to Apollo 11. They’re iconic, but when seen, they are usually played back at about 1/4 the speed of the actual event. The cameras were running at 4x normal speed (About 96 fps).”

  • Col Beausabre

    Let us not forget that the successful launch forced The New York Times to have to publicly eat crow.

    On 17 July 1969 the Apollo 11 crew was on the way to the first landing of man on the Moon. That day the New York Times had a special 20-page section on all things related to spaceflight and rocketry. There, it finally printed a sort-of apologetic correction some 34 years after Dr Robert Goddard had died:

    “A Correction. On Jan. 13, 1920,”Topics of the Times,” an editorial-page feature of the The New York Times, dismissed the notion that a rocket could function in vacuum and commented on the ideas of Robert H. Goddard, the rocket pioneer, as follows:

    “That Professor Goddard, with his ‘chair’ in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution, does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react – to say that would be absurd. Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.”

    Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th Century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.”

  • Woody Sprott

    Love this kind of stuff Bob!👍

  • Chris

    On the clip Wayne posted above, note how long the exhaust flame is.
    It may be an illusion but the exhaust looks to be several times the length of the 365 ft rocket assembly.

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