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 files lawsuit against Starship lunar contract award

What a joke: Jeff Bezos’s company Blue Origin on August 13th filed a lawsuit in federal court, attempting to overthrow the contract award NASA gave SpaceX’s Starship in its manned lunar lander Artemis project

In a court filing on Friday, Blue Origin said it continued to believe that two providers were needed to build the landing system, which will carry astronauts down to the Moon’s surface as early as 2024. It also accused Nasa of “unlawful and improper evaluation” of its proposals during the tender process. “We firmly believe that the issues identified in this procurement and its outcomes must be addressed to restore fairness, create competition and ensure a safe return to the Moon for America,” Blue Origin said.

The article then goes on to list the basic facts that make this lawsuit absurd. First, NASA had not been appropriated enough money by Congress to award two contracts, and had it done so, it would have violated the law. Second SpaceX’s bid was the lowest bid, far less than Blue Origin’s expensive price. Third, SpaceX was already test flying early prototypes of its Starship lander, while Blue Origin had built nothing. Fourth, many other technical issues made SpaceX’s bid superior.

Finally, the GAO, as an independent arbitrator, has already ruled against a Blue Origin protest, stating unequivocally that NASA had done nothing wrong in its contract process.

This lawsuit makes Blue Origin appear to be a very unserious company. Rather than putting its energies towards building rockets and spacecraft to demonstrate its capabilities, it focuses its effort on playing legal games in the courts. Such behavior will only make it seem less appealling when next it bids on a NASA or Space Force contract.

Readers!
 

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.


Your support is even more essential to me because I keep this site free from advertisements and do not participate in corrupt social media companies like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. I depend wholly on the direct support of my readers.


You can provide that support to Behind The Black with a contribution via Patreon or PayPal. To use Patreon, go to my website there and pick one of five monthly subscription amounts, or by making a one-time donation. For PayPal click one of the following buttons:
 


 

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Patreon or Paypal don't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 

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

15 comments

  • Kyle

    If you cannot beat them in the field, beat them in the courtroom, if you cannot beat them in the courtroom, try anyway and hope they settle.

  • The Righthaven business model, applied to spaceflight.

  • Gary

    Clearly, they went into this thinking there would be two vendors. They also knew they couldn’t underbid SpaceX. In that situation, you bid high and make billions even if you never deliver anything. When it was just a one bid award, they had to be shocked, then angry. This is the angry part of the reaction.

  • Kyle #2

    The congressional budget proposals were public knowledge. Blue must have assumed they wouldn’t be able to afford even one award. SpaceX saw this coming, bid low, and let NASA know they would be more than willing to backload the contract to get it under budget in year one.

  • Kyle #2

    The congressional budget proposals were public knowledge. Blue must have assumed they wouldn’t be able to afford even one award. SpaceX saw this coming, bid low, and let NASA know they would be more than willing to backload the contract to get it under budget in year one.

  • Chris Lopes

    Meanwhile, ULA is wondering when (or even if) it will get those BE4 engines it contracted Blue Origin for. It is customary to demonstrate an ability to fullfil a contract before asking for another one.

  • JhonB

    I was one of those people that always admired successful people and up until a few days ago, could not get my head around all the hate for Bezos. Now I get it…..I want to see a man on Mars before I die, and this a-hole is going to stop me from seeing that as now I am doubtful I will see another man on the moon with this delaying tactic. He has nothing so lets slow things down.

  • JhonB: Don’t misconstrue legitimate criticisms of Bezos as hate. I think there is still hope for him and his company. He just needs to refocus. Noting bad moves such as this lawsuit might help him do it.

  • Richard M

    “The congressional budget proposals were public knowledge. Blue must have assumed they wouldn’t be able to afford even one award. SpaceX saw this coming, bid low, and let NASA know they would be more than willing to backload the contract to get it under budget in year one.”

    We don’t know *what* Blue Origin leadership thought, but it’s not hard to think, reading between the lines of their protest documents, that they thought NASA would revert to type and pick two awardees, but stretch out the development schedules as far as necessary – in this case, at least out to 2030 – and maybe lobby and hope for Congress to shorten it back up somewhat later by increasing the HLS funding in out years.

    NASA, however clearly felt they had to stick with the 2024 deadline (or some rough approximation thereof) that was still their official objective, which the Biden White House had never changed or revoked.

  • 1201AlarmSameType

    Blue Origin is also asking the court to demand that Spacex stop work on the HLS contract until it is decided. Wow.

  • Ray Van Dune

    SpaceX is the only company proposing something beyond an “Apollo Mk2” capability (at a fraction of the other bidders’ price)… with the minuscule payloads of either of Dinetics or Blue Origin, it would take dozens of flights to build a shed! Unless they were sending Biden, Obama, Pelosi and Schumer on a one-way mission, it isn’t worth anything!

  • Gary

    1201AlarmSameType I get they can ask for halt of SpaceX development, but – since SpaceX was working on landing Starship on other worlds before the NASA contract- not sure how the suit can stop that work.

  • Jeff Wright

    I like Dynetics myself. I hate this sue happy world, where folks in legal get rooms with views. The left hates billionaires…and the right doesn’t have much use for Bezos. Time for a bipartisan bill to hit Blue and Bezos with a 99 percent tax…the proceeds dumped as a lump sum on Musk for powersats….unless Bezos drops this suit. No more lawyers!

  • 1201AlarmSameType

    Gary – It will not stop the Starship project in general, that is true. Slowing down the recent momentum to return to the Moon after 50 years from a company that claims to be pro Space makes me sad.

  • Richard M

    “1201AlarmSameType I get they can ask for halt of SpaceX development, but – since SpaceX was working on landing Starship on other worlds before the NASA contract- not sure how the suit can stop that work.”

    I assume this means – and can only mean – the Lunar Starship variant specific development work.

    I don’t know honestly how much engineering resources Elon has working on *that*; it does seem, from what we can see and what Elon said in his interview with Tim Dodd, that almost all the work at *Boca Chica* right now is focused on the task of getting a successful orbital flight and return accomplished.

    But I’m sure that won’t keep SpaceX and NASA from fiercely contesting Blue Origin’s motion.

Readers: the rules for commenting!

 

No registration is required. I welcome all opinions, even those that strongly criticize my commentary.

 

However, name-calling and obscenities will not be tolerated. First time offenders who are new to the site will be warned. Second time offenders or first time offenders who have been here awhile will be suspended for a week. After that, I will ban you. Period.

 

Note also that first time commenters as well as any comment with more than one link will be placed in moderation for my approval. Be patient, I will get to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *