Robert Zimmerman

Robert Zimmerman is an award-winning science journalist and historian who has written six books and hundreds of articles on science, engineering, and the history of space exploration and technology. He also reports on space, science, and culture at his website, Behind the Black (, with millions of readers per month.

His newest book, Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space


explains the errors the British made in building their Virginia colony and how those terrible mistakes could inform us in building our own new colonies among the stars. As Robert Zubrin said, "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."

The recommendations Zimmerman made in 2017 policy paper for the Center for a New American Security, Capitalism in Space: private enterprise and competition reshape the global aerospace launch industry (, have been largely adopted by the government, and have helped generate the fast paced changes being wrought worldwide by the new commercial space industry. His 2008 book, The Universe in a Mirror: the saga of the Hubble Space Telescope and the visionaries who built it (Princeton University Press), tells the story of the people who conceived, built, and saved the Hubble Space Telescope, while his first book, Genesis, the story of Apollo 8 (Mountain Lake Press), available both as an ebook and audiobook (,

describes the epic family and political tale behind the first manned mission to another world.

His magazine and newspaper articles have appeared in Astronomy, Air & Space, Science, Natural History, Wired, Invention & Technology and a host of other publications. He has also written op-eds for publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Federalist, USA Today, American Greatness, and The National Interest. In 2000 he was co-winner of the David N. Schramm Award, given by the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society for Science Journalism, for his essay in The Sciences, "There She Blows," on the 35-year-old astronomical mystery of gamma ray bursts. His third book, Leaving Earth:

Space stations, rival superpowers, and the quest for interplanetary travel (Joseph Henry Press), won the American Astronautical Society's Eugene M. Emme Astronautical Literature Award in 2003 as that year's best space history for the general public.

Zimmerman has also written one science fiction novel, Pioneer (, telling the thrilling story of one man's effort to make the first contact with aliens beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

In addition to his writing, Mr. Zimmerman is also a cave explorer and cartographer, and has participated in numerous projects exploring and mapping previously unknown caves across the United States. It is this activity that has allowed him to actually "go where no one has gone before," thus providing him a better understanding of the perspective of engineers and scientists as they struggle to push the limits of human knowledge.


Broadcast 698 (Special Edition)

Robert Zimmerman returned to The Space Show for this program. We discussed many topics from the shuttle schedule and repairs, to spaceports at Wallops and in New Mexico. Regarding the shuttle, Bob explained the importance of engineering delays and the fact that these types of delays are certainly a welcome change from the past when NASA might have compromised engineering for a specific schedule.

Broadcast 632 (Special Edition)

Robert Zimmerman returned for this Space Show program. With some sarcastic humor and serious commentary, Bob Zimmerman spent much time during this program connecting the dots to a future successful space program to a resolution of many of the global political and economic threats facing the U.S. and the free world. No doubt many listeners will disagree with Mr. Zimmerman's political assessment of issues facing America and how they might impact space development but Mr. Zimmerman is clearly not the first to express these concerns nor he is the first to do so in the context of space policy.

Broadcast 600 (Special Edition)

Robert Zimmerman returned as guest for this Space Show program. In this program, Robert is sure to delight and offend listeners given his strong statements and passions about issues discussed. Some of these issues concern the NASA science programming, JPL, politics, and more. In addition, he provided us with insights on the Russian space program, the CEV and COTS programs and much more.

Broadcast 527 (Special Edition)

Robert Zimmerman returned to The Space Show to give us new insights and updates regarding all things happening with space. We started by discussing Bigelow Aerospace and then we discussed the successful launch of the Shuttle Discovery. This took us deeper into NASA and related discussions such as COTS, the Vision, science funding or the lack of it, and more. We also discussed the newly released Space Frontier Foundation White Paper regarding the Vision for Space Exploration.

Broadcast 495 (Special Edition)

Robert Zimmerman returned to The Space Show for this program. Mr. Zimmerman began the discussion with an update on return to flight efforts regarding The Space Shuttle. During this program, Bob spoke a considerable amount about politics and space policy, current events, and related topics. We discussed changes within NASA which are forcing NASA to adopt stronger commercial space positions and projects.

Broadcast 472 (Special Edition)

Robert Zimmerman returned for this Space Show program. We began the interview with Robert updating us on the latest Falcon I launch plans with SpaceX. We then got into a management issue discussion with SpaceX compared to NASA and other companies. Robert talked about Hubble, mentioned his new book on Hubble, we talked about negative and positive journalism and fear, both with the Iraqi war as well as the space program. Robert updated us on what to watch for re the shuttle returning to flight, the vision program and more.

Broadcast 450 (Special Edition)

Robert Zimmerman returned as the guest for this Space Show program. We began the interview with Robert discussing the new proposed FAA regulations for space travel and flight. The regs can be found at The final date for them to become law is in June so if you want to comment on the proposed regs, now is the time to do it. In the discussion, Robert was critical of the regs from the perspective of taking away freedom from Americans by having the government act as the source of standards for safety and everything else.

Broadcast 412 (Special Edition)

Robert Zimmerman returned to The Space Show for this program. We began the discussion with Bob giving us his first hand report from the recent Frank Borman comments about Space Ship One being a stunt and the reaction to his comments, both from the audience (they applauded) and on We then discussed the Lunar Robot Lander program scheduled as part of our Return to The Moon program for around 2010-2011. This took us into a rather detailed discussion about NASA, the vision, Dr.

Broadcast 345 (Special Edition)

Robert Zimmerman returned to this special Space Show program to update listeners on the recently held ISDC Conference in Washington, DC and more. Robert began the update talking about the opening remarks by Burt Rutan and his NASA comments. Following Burt were NASA speakers that had to address the issues cited by Mr. Rutan. Mr. Zimmerman discussed some of what he has been told regarding the three different types of divisions within NASA at this time pertaining to the implementation of the new vision and NASA culture reforms. Mr.

Broadcast 331 (Special Edition)

Robert Zimmerman returned to The Space Show to update listeners on the happenings within the space community. We discussed return to flight with the upcoming Discovery shuttle flight, the new NASA Administrator Dr. Mike Griffin, Hubble, the Voyager program, and more. Bob pointed out the difference in NASA this year in its open support of many alternative and advocate space conferences, including ISDC among others. Zimmerman was also quick to point out some of the rough spots that are still plaguing NASA, including possible truthfulness, numbers, and more.


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