Tag Archives: publicity

Announcement: Capitalism in Space:
Private Enterprise and Competition Reshape the Global Aerospace Launch Industry

This post will remain at the top of the page for the next week. Scroll down for updates.

After much delay and discussion, my policy paper for the Center for a New American Security, Capitalism in Space: Private Enterprise and Competition Reshape the Global Aerospace Launch Industry, has finally been published.

You can download the pdf here or at the Center here. Please feel free to distribute this widely. If you visit other websites please pass it on to them. This should be read by as many people as possible, especially since the space policy of the Trump administration remains at present undecided. This policy paper will help them work out a wise policy, with the paper’s key data point contained in this table:

SLS vs Commercial space

I document my numbers very carefully. The result illustrates clearly how much a failure the government model has been and continues to be. We have spent a lot of money since the 1970s on NASA and space, and have generally gotten very little for that investment, as demonstrated by the comparison between the accomplishments of private and government space in the past two decades. Going forward it is going to be very difficult for SLS/Orion to compete with the heavy lift rockets coming from SpaceX and Blue Origin.

My concluding words:

A close look at these recommendations will reveal one common thread. Each is focused on shifting power and regulatory authority away from the federal government and increasing the freedom of American companies to act as they see fit to meet the demands of the market. The key word that defines this common thread is freedom, a fundamental principle that has been aspired to since the nation’s founding.

Political leaders from both parties have made the concept a central core tenet of American policy. Democrat John Kennedy stated that his commitment to go to the Moon was a “stand for freedom” in the Cold War. Republican Ronald Reagan proposed “Freedom” as the name for the new space station, and viewed it as a platform for promoting private enterprise in space.

Freedom is actually a very simple idea. Give people and companies the freedom to act, in a competitive environment that encourages intelligent and wise action, and they will respond intelligently and wisely.

The United States’ history proves that freedom can work. It is time to prove it again, in space.

Anyway, read the whole paper. I make a number of recommendations that I hope both Congress and the Trump administration will consider seriously. If they do, the United States will lead the world in the exploration and colonization of the solar system, and we will do it quickly and for a reasonable amount of money.

More importantly, we will be doing it under the banner of freedom.

Off to Belize

Today, Wednesday, I head to the airport to return to the western regions of Belize for a week of cave exploration and mapping. Last time I was there in May we began a cave survey. I am now the cartographer for this project, and this time I hope we can finish it.

I intend to post while in Belize, though it will likely have to wait until each evening when we get back from the caves. I also intend to do my Batchelor appearances, but this time live from Mayan Mountain Lodge in San Ignacio, where we will be staying. The lodge was gracious enough in May to let me use their office and phone, and I expect they will be agreeable again this time.

Anyway, off for more adventure. The world is much too fascinating a place to see it just from my desk by way of the internet. You have to get out and see it for real whenever you can!

Birthday bleg time again!

As you can obviously see, I have placed my annual request for donations or subscriptions to Behind The Black at the top of the page. It is February, and it is once again time to hold my annual birthday fundraising campaign.

Please consider donating or subscribing to the website. Every dollar helps, even if it is as little as a $2 monthly subscription. Not only will those contributions help me continue my independent reporting, it will keep the commenting feature of this webpage alive, which many of my readers have discovered to be a refreshing place to civilly discuss the issues of the day, without rancor or insults.

In Santa Barbara

I am now in Santa Barbara, California. Tomorrow I drive up to Vandenberg Air Force to give a lecture for the local chapter of the AIAA. This is why posting today and tomorrow will be light. I might get some posts in later tonight, but don’t expect a lot. When I return I plan on an essay on the subject of squealing pigs.

I will let my readers guess as to the subject matter. I suspect many of you will be able to.

Upcoming lectures

Since one of my readers asked about my future speaking appearances, I thought I’d note them here, on the main page. I will be speaking at three different venues in the next month, as follows:

The first is open to the public, but there is a $10 admission fee to the park. While the last two are free and also open to the public, I do not know what the public must do to gain access to the middle event at Vandenberg Air Force Base, as the location I think will be inside the base.

As always, all my appearances, including these, are listed in the right column below.

Good distractions

My posting this week has been somewhat slack, mostly because I am trying to finish up a caving monograph for a survey project that has been on-going for the past five years. I have also been swamped with the very last changes to my policy paper for the Center for New American Security, which now has the title Capitalism in Space: Private Enterprise and Competition reshape the Global Aerospace Launch Industry. (I am hoping that title causes a few liberal heads to explode when the paper is released in the coming days.) I am also off on another cave project this weekend, so I will not be posting again until Sunday night.

Hopefully, things will ease up next week. In the meantime, enjoy your weekends and do not get too depressed over the insanity and madness that appears to be taking over our society.

Upcoming lecture in Illinois

For those of my readers who happen to live in Illinois, I will be giving a lecture on Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 6:00 pm in Urbana, Illinois to the University of Illinois at Urbana student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

My topic: Predicting the future of space travel, based on the past.

Abstract:

What shall the future of space exploration be like? Will the United States continue to dominate? Or will other nations move to the forefront and eclipse the present generation of American and Russian pioneers? Moreover, will the next travelers to other worlds go to the Moon or the asteroids? Or will they head straight to Mars, as some passionately advocate?

Predicting the precise chronology of these future events, ALL of which are inevitable, is certainly impossible. However, human history does repeat itself, and a close and objective look at history can give us a fairly good idea of what will happen in the future. This is especially important in the context of the federal government’s present budget problems and how they will influence future events.

In his lecture, Robert Zimmerman will outline a few examples of past exploration — both famous as well as obscure — and use these stories to show that the path we are on today is actually heading in a direction that few expected or predicted only a few years ago.

The actual location will be in the Talbot Laboratory, 104 S Wright St, Urbana, IL 61801.

Leaving Belize tomorrow

After a week of intense and amazing caving, I will be leaving Belize tomorrow. I will not get home until Saturday, however, as my flight ends in El Paso at about 11 pm. I will drive home on Saturday.

I intend to post several essays about my trip, one describing the caving and why it is happening, one describing the ruins and my impressions (with photos), and maybe a third with my overall thoughts about the experience. Since I have a lot of other work that needs to be done, some with deadlines, it might take a few days to pump all this out. Stay tuned.

On the radio from Belize

I will be doing my Tuesday night podcast on John Batchelor, live Tuesday at 11:00 pm Eastern. We did a test phone call tonight and confirmed that the connection is good. I expect I will talk a bit about what I am doing here in Belize, as well as some of the space stuff going on the last few days and posted on Behind the Black.

I will also post the podcast link once John Batchelor gets it uploaded.

Two days in Mountain Cow Cave

Still alive! We spent Saturday and Sunday surveying in Mountain Cow Cave, located on the Hummingbird Highway in a national park. Quite amazingly beautiful. Gigantic rooms filled with big towers and formations everywhere. The size makes surveying and sketching the rooms challenging, as I am sometimes staning in plsces far from any walls. To sketch a cave passage it helps to be able to see the walls.

No pictures, for the moment, as it is hard to upload large files here.

We go to a different cave tomorrow (Monday) while on Tuesday we will take a day off to go sightseeing at the Tikal ruins in Guatamala.

One more thing: there is a chance I will still do my Tuesday appearance with John Batchelor. If we find the phone connection acceptable, I will go on live at 11 pm eastern. I will know for sure by tomorrow night.

Off to Belize

This Friday morning I am leaving for Belize for a week long cave expedition. I do not know if I will have the time or internet access to post as normal. Moreover, the days will be spent underground surveying and pushing new cave passages, so if I do any posting it will be in the evenings. In addition, some of us will also be heading to Guatemala for a day to visit the ruins at Tikal.

I have never been to Belize before. If I can’t post there I will definitely post my impressions of my travels upon my return.

Posted from El Paso, Texas.

May 6, 2016 Zimmerman/Pratt podcast

On Friday afternoon I spent 90 minutes with Robert Pratt on his radio show, Pratt on Texas. Unlike most radio hosts, Robert wanted to hear my thoughts not just on the state of the aerospace industry, but also on today’s politics. The conversation thus ranged beyond space during the last half hour. If anyone wants to hear this conversation, the podcast be found here.

Note: The podcast now works at this link.

February 9, 2016 John Batchelor podcast

Below the fold is the podcast of my appearance Tuesday on the John Batchelor Show. Some topics: The next SpaceX launch, North Korea, the unrealistic NASA claims of a mission to Mars, and NASA’s new desire to censor religion (coming from an agency whose astronauts have read from the Old Testament while orbiting the Moon).
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February 2, 2016 Batchelor podcast

Below the fold is Tuesday’s podcast of my appearance on the John Batchelor show. In addition to discussing Falcon Heavy, Ariane 6, and the question of rocket re-usability, I also lambasted the glacially slow pace of NASA’s Orion project, producing four capsules for a mere $17 billion in only 19 years! And speaking of glaciers, I also noted in the science segment the stonewalling at NOAA that prevents scientists from analyzing the rational behind their “adjustments” to their climate data, all of which cool the past and warm the present.
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