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.

Blue Origin BE-4 engine delayed again

In an interview ULA’s CEO Tory Bruno revealed that Blue Origin is not going to deliver the first two flightworthy BE-4 engines this summer, as promised, with delivery now probably not until the end of the year.

“I will not get them before the end of the year,” said Tory Bruno, CEO of ULA, in an exclusive Denver Business Journal interview ahead of this week’s Space Symposium industry gathering in Colorado Springs. “It will be shortly into the beginning of the 2022 calendar year, and anywhere in there will support me being able to build up a rocket and have that Vulcan waiting on my customer, Astrobotic.”

…“We’ve actually be been able to accommodate this, but I’ll be straight with you, the dates we’ve set up for them now— we really don’t have the ability to make any big moves after this,” Bruno said. “I need them to diligently work through the plans we have and get done on time.”

ULA needs to launch its new Vulcan rocket twice in order to get approved for its first military launch, now expected in less than 12 months. They thus no longer have any schedule margin.


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  • Richard M

    Even in spite of today’s ULA Email-Gate, I feel a bit sorry for Tory.

    But you can see the advantage of keeping your engine development in house. It is telling that virtually all of the New Space launch companies are following SpaceX’s lead in doing so.

  • Richard M

    Tory did tweet out a follow up on this story yesterday: “I expect engines before the end of the year. If there are any unforeseen challenges, they could move past that. At present, the engine is performing well and is in prequal testing. Flight engines have begun fabrication. I expect the have the rocket ready ahead of the payload.” ( )

    Honestly, this feels aspirational. But we will know soon enough.

  • Chris Lopes

    Bezos needs less lawyers and more engineers.

  • Dean Hurt

    AND YET, Jeff Bezos’ goal of getting his uber-rich butt in his toy, New Sheppard is completed, so time to coast on other commitments.

  • William

    Maybe they can buy a few Raptor engines

  • Ray Van Dune

    Tony probably has an undercover team working with SpaceX, looking at a Raptor-powered Vulcan. With RocketDyne too! Such arrangement are not rare, just kept very quiet.

  • Doubting Thomas

    Richard M – ULA E-mail gate??? Some more details or pointers please?

    Thank you

  • Richard M: A tempest in a teapot, though it does reveal some of the irrational hate felt for Trump and his supporters by Washington insiders.

  • Richard M

    Hello Bob,

    It could be; it’s hard to say.

    It also shows that ULA’s lobby arm is a lot more amateur hour than I had assumed. (Why would a article be persuasive to Biden Administration officials?!?)

    It may cost the lobbyists in question their jobs if these emails are not shown to be fabrications, since it’s very hard to imagine them ever being able to meet Tom Zerbuchen or Steve Jurczyk in the face after having called them “incompetent” in a leaked email.

    Still, it’s probably the least of ULA’s problems. They are betting the stack on a delayed rocket waiting for an engine whose development they do not control, which will still not be competitive with SpaceX rockets when it DOES start launching – and which has a number of fully reusable medium and heavy lift launchers from other providers coming up in the rear view mirror.

    Meanwhile, Tory Bruno has to answer to Boeing and Lockheed Martin for everything he does.

  • Jeff Wright

    Ditto the in-house comment. Mr. Bruno-the solution is called F-I B and Dynetics and PWR can help you. Forget re-usability and go for low part count. J-2 on steel upper stage. Heavy but simple. We in Alabama can do this for you. We have our own steel. Get rid of the suits and pointy-heads. This isn’t old vs new space or ULA vs SpaceX anymore….this is Alabama vs Texas! Put us in coach!! Unleash the beast-still hungry in Huntsville!

  • Doubting Thomas

    Richard M. – Thanks for the link. Very interesting. Based on my experience in big aerospace, your subsequent comment to Robert was very accurate. I am amazed that professional lobbyists would commit such thoughts to email, even in-house email. Those kinds of thoughts are normally kept for phone calls or face to face meetings.

    Often people on the site are accused of being SpaceX fan boys but Musk has done a valuable service to his adopted country, he has shaken up the landscape which is the value of competition.

    Jeff Wright – No offense, but my observations of Huntsville over the last 40 years and especially over the last 20 is that the “beast” is always hungry.

    Hard for me to believe that even a low part count J-2 can be so cheap as to permit being thrown away for each mission.

  • pzatchok

    What is the reason BO can not supply these engines?

  • pazatchok: Go to one of the search boxes on BtB (located either at the bottom of the page or at the top of the right column) and put in BE-4. This will answer your question.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Interesting to view the inside-the-Beltway reality distortion field from outside. Now that OldSpace has repeatedly and flagrantly messed up, their hack force says NASA is “incompetent” for no longer trusting them and relying, instead, on SpaceX, which has just as repeatedly come through for NASA. Doubting Thomas was entirely correct.

    And not just about DC OldSpace lobbyists.

    Mr. Wright, you need to quit living in the past. The F-1B ship has long since sailed and been lost at sea. The F-1B, and the Pyrios SLS booster it was to notionally power, failed to get traction over eight years ago. Dynetics is still around in Huntsville, but the late Pratt & Whitney-Rocketdyne, which still existed in early 2013, was gobbled up by Aerojet later that year to become the AJR that is now, in its turn, awaiting its own gobbling up by LockMart. Shortly after the creation of AJR, in 2013, the venerable Canoga Av. Rocketdyne plant, where the F-1 had been built, was closed and razed. All the large, specialized production equipment needed to make the F-1 went with it. There are currently no fabrication facilities anywhere capable of producing any version of the F-1 and years would be required to build new ones from scratch. The F-1? It’s dead, Jim.

    And, the way things are currently going, it would not surprise me at all if ULA joins it in the OldSpace Great Beyond in fairly short order. Even if the first Vulcan flies flawlessly in 2022, I see no way ULA can survive more than a few additional years. If the NSSL Phase 2 contract, which is now all that really sustains that company, falls to legal challenges by the NewSpace launch companies, ULA will fall with it. Even if NSSL Phase 2 survives and runs its course, ULA can’t last past 2027 when the last of the missions allocated to it by NSSL Phase 2 flies.

    The next round of NSSL will not be structured anything like the current Phase 2. By 2023, Space Force will be well along in a transition from rare, hyper-expensive and artisan-crafted milsats, to massively proliferated military smallsats made on assembly lines. There will also be at least a half-dozen companies capable of handling this largest part of DoD’s launch manifest and nothing remotely resembling NSSL Phase 2’s two-vendors-only contracting model will be any longer possible to arrange. With F9, FH and, by then, Starship, able to handle the remaining big stuff, I just don’t see where ULA has a future in such a milspace world.

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