Conscious Choice cover

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.


Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

1st Vulcan test core stage arrives at Kennedy

Capitalism in space: ULA’s first complete Vulcan core stage, meant at this point only for testing launch procedures, has arrived at Cape Canaveral.

After connecting the launch platform and the rocket to gas and electrical systems at the pad, ULA engineers will run the Vulcan booster and the ground infrastructure through a series of exercises, culminating in loading of thousands of gallons of cryogenic liquid methane and liquid oxygen into the rocket.

Once these tests are complete, the stage will be returned to ULA’s facility in Alabama to be refitted with flight worthy BE-4 engines so it can fly on a later mission. The engines presently attached are test engines.

ULA expects the first flightworthy BE-4 engines to be delivered by Blue Origin by the summer. These will then be incorporated into the first Vulcan to fly (hopefully before the end of the year) and carrying Astrobotic’s unmanned Peregrine lunar lander.

That rocket, as will all Vulcan rockets for the foreseeable future, will be entirely expendable. Though ULA says it intends at some point to recover for reuse the engines of the core stage, they have not delineated a time schedule for when that will happen.

At this point the only customer ULA has for this rocket is the government — especially the military. Vulcan cannot compete in price with SpaceX’s rockets, so I doubt any commercial satellite company will be much interested in it. The military will pay the extra bucks, because it wants more than one launch company for redundancy, and it has already committed to buying Vulcans for the next five years.

Of course, that long term commitment to Vulcan by the military will likely change if other cheaper rockets enter the market. At the present the military is limiting bidding on future launches to just SpaceX and ULA. That cannot hold up in court if other viable rocket companies wish to bid. Expect those new companies to do what SpaceX did when the Air Force refused to let it bid on military launches about five years ago, sue, and win in court.

At that point ULA’s an entirely expendable Vulcan will be very vulnerable to losing its last customer. ULA must make this rocket reusable or it will die as a company.


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  • Jeff Wright

    Call me a lefty-but I want to see diversity in launcher design. Vulcan should be a winged design-a fly back SRB replacement. Large silo housed all solid designs for surprise NEO transients…otrag for India…Bezos funding Skylon…Musk putting jet pods on Starship until thing get dialed in.

  • Edward

    Robert wrote: “ULA must make this rocket reusable or it will die as a company.

    An alternative is to begin doing business solely in space and cede the launch business to others. ULA already is working on ACES, a space-based transporter. However, I think it is more likely that they want to stay in the launch business with Cislunar transportation as a sideline.

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