Leaving Earth cover

In 2019 I obtained from my former publisher the last 30 copies of the now out-of-print hardback of Leaving Earth. I sold about half of these, and with only a handful left in stock I have raised the price. To get your own autographed copy of this rare collector's item please send a $75 check (includes $5 shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

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

I will likely raise the price again when only ten books are left, so buy them now at this price while you still can!

Also available as an inexpensive ebook!

Leaving Earth: Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel, can be purchased as an ebook everywhere for only $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.


Winner of the 2003 Eugene M. Emme Award of the American Astronautical Society.

"Leaving Earth is one of the best and certainly the most comprehensive summary of our drive into space that I have ever read. It will be invaluable to future scholars because it will tell them how the next chapter of human history opened." -- Arthur C. Clarke

Practicing Landings on a Carrier in bad weather

An evening pause: Last night we had the Flight of the Foo Birds. Tonight, we look at real flight, military pilots practicing landings on an aircraft carrier when the ocean is rough and the ship is rolling. The movies always give us the impression that this is easy, when in fact it is not.

Hat tip Rocco.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit.


  • Edward

    When I was a kid, I begged my parents to let me watch airplanes take off and land at the airport. I saw airplanes “hover” for hundreds of feet before they finally touched down.

    When I was older, I learned that carrier landings had to be done in the hundred or so feet where the arrestor cables were, which seemed impossible, considering the difficulty that the airliners had in getting those last few feet down to the runway. Add to that the pitching, heaving, bobbing deck!

    Today, I see carrier landings, and I still don’t believe it. I have great respect for the pilots that land on aircraft carriers.

  • ‘. . . there’s no safety net.”

    The difference between flying and aviating.

  • Cotour

    That is the real deal, no doubt. They all have my sincerest gratitude and respect.

  • pzatchok

    When i was in the AF I got to watch first hand a Navy pilot try to land on our base.

    He was coming in with his fighter VERY nose high and rather slow for having a few thousand feet of run way and over run area to use.

    He did not realize that we also had arrestor cables at both ends of the run way for emergency overruns. About a hundred feet from both ends of the runway. Heavy enough to stop fully loaded cargo planes. They lay right on the run way about100 from each end.

    I got to watch him for his whole approach and landing. He was the last plane in and my last job of the day.

    Well he came in so short and nose high that his tail touched the ground first which means his tail hook dragged the ground first and all I heard was the whip of the cable and the slap of his landing gear as his plane came for a full stop inside 3 lengths of his plane.
    Engines still running full speed and lights on in the cockpit but I couldn’t see the pilot anymore.
    It turns out he had his shoulder straps off and was leaning way out in front of his seat to see over the nose.
    When he ‘landed’ his face and both arms crashed into the control panel and shattered it. It took about 20 seconds for him to sit back up and turn off the engines. By then the emergency crews were on their way.
    He got away with a few broken bones and the plane flew out the next day.

    Rule of the day. No need to hotdog it if no one is watching.

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