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.


Boeing to buy part of Virgin Orbit for $3.2 billion

Capitalism in space: In a stock market merger/investment deal, Boeing is going to buy a part ownership in Virgin Orbit for $3.2 billion, with the deal to close by the end of the year.

After the deal completes, Branson’s Virgin group will hold about 68 per cent of Virgin Orbit. Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala Investment Company, is an existing investor in Virgin Orbit and will have about 17 per cent, while the Pipe and other private investors will hold about 15 per cent of the group. Boeing’s share was not disclosed.

My first thought was that Boeing wanted to get into a space company that was doing things better than anything Boeing was trying. And considering that Virgin Orbit a Richard Branson space company, albeit one with some real success, that indicates how badly everything else is at Boeing

My second thought was: Where is Boeing getting the cash? My impression is that because of its various problems with the 737-Max, it has sold almost no planes in the past two years, and has even had to refund money from many purchasers. Its cash flow with Starliner is nil until they fly it. SLS has brought them money as the contract is cost-plus, but hardly enough to pay for this deal.

My third thought was that this deal indicates the continuing cash problems at Branson’s Virgin Group. The Wuhan panic cut airline traffic significantly. It appears Branson is still digging for cash to bail out these operations.

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

12 comments

  • Jay

    It is for cash and probably some deal for some intellectual properties.

    Since I live in the Pacific Northwest and Boeing is always big news, a few weeks ago I heard on the radio that Alaska Airlines did purchase a bunch of 737-Max planes. Did a quick check, Alaska Airlines did buy (37) 737-Max planes, with an option to buy href=”https://www.boeing.com/commercial/customers/alaska-airlines/order-for-37-737-maxs-and-13-next-generation-737s.page”> more .

  • Ron Desmarais

    Don’t forget Virgin Ocean Voyages, which now has two cruise ships which have to be costing millions of dollars (with few or no passengers), is another money pit for Branson. I hate to see Boeing getting involved in Virgin Orbit, they were doing so well 😢

  • Ray Van Dune

    Looks like making a strategic investment in a buggy-whip factory to me! They figure since it launches from a 747, it must be a hot idea. Boeing management has the innovative instinct of a grape.

  • Ray Van Dune: Hah! Can I quote you on Batchelor?

  • Alton

    Well Boeing still has the Big Cash Cow 🐮…..DoD with the new airborne Tanker fleet
    Good for at least ten billion fronted from Wall Street or who knows the way the Federal Reserve has been pushing out dollars to not only banks but buying commerical paper to the tune of TRILLIONs……Does the FED now have back office paper 📜 form many of the top 500 companies?

  • Ray Van Dune

    Sure you can quote me, Bob… haven’t had my 15 minutes yet, that I know of. Just mention I love wine so the grape-growers don’t come after me!

  • Gary M.

    Boeing messed up Jeppensen when they bought them years ago. More recently they wrecked Aviall when they bought them. Even more recently they bought Foreflight. Price went up service went down. In my tiny little world with my tiny little data point a Boeing investment in a company has always been a bad thing. I hope this works out differently.

  • wayne

    Alton–
    ab-so-lutely.
    The Federal Reserve balance sheet is filled with billions of dollars of dubious debt instruments. They buy car-loans, mobile-home loans, solar-panel loans, etc., etc.,… you name it, they have it on the balance sheet.
    And yes, Boeing makes loads of money on weapons.

  • Jeff Wright

    Great quote Ray! How ’bout speed of a sloth? There is video of a sloth getting food stolen from it by another animal…the look on its face was priceless. Coast-to-Coast has footage of a turtle eating a fledgling…as deer do. A turtle eating a fallen bird is what Boeing did. Maybe turtle Boeing can give snail BO a ride-so it can say “whee!” At any rate…this and maybe an arsenal plane will get 747 new life-and this buy-up was to get their old engineers back-to mistreat them some more…

  • mkent

    Boeing to buy part of Virgin Orbit for $3.2 billion

    Oh my goodness!! So much ignorance! I know to be a member of the SpaceX cult in good standing you must also hate Boeing, but that’s no excuse for the ignorance on display here.

    First of all, Boeing isn’t buying anything in this transaction. Its HorizonX venture capital fund, which is in the process of merging with AE Industrial Partners and being spun off into a public fund, is investing in a company.

    Second, the investment isn’t in Virgin Orbit directly, it is in the NextGen Acquisition Corp. II, a SPAC setup to merge with Virgin Orbit so as to take it public on the NASDAQ stock exchange. If that deal falls through, there is no investment in Virgin, because HorizonX’s deal is with the other half of the merger.

    Third, HorizonX’s investment is nowhere near $3.2 billion. It’s just a portion of the PIPE financing of the SPAC. The whole PIPE is only $100 million. Your headline is off by a likely two orders of magnitude.

    My second thought was: Where is Boeing getting the cash? My impression is that because of its various problems with the 737-Max, it has sold almost no planes in the past two years, and has even had to refund money from many purchasers.

    Boeing delivered 311 aircraft in 2020 and has delivered 241 aircraft in the first half of this year.

    More importantly, Boeing has generated $61 billion in revenue in the past 12 months, including a profit of $1.41 billion and $2.41 billion in the first and second quarters of 2021, respectively. It has $8.27 billion of cash on hand. Even if it were the parent company making this investment instead of the venture capital fund, it would represent about 1/2000th — or about one work hour — of annual revenue and less than 1% of its cash.

    Its cash flow with Starliner is nil until they fly it.

    Starliner is a trivial portion of Boeing’s business, revenue, and income. Starliner’s contract value is $4.2 billion in the period from late 2014 through 2024, which represents less than 0.7% of the company’s revenue in that timeframe.

    SLS has brought them money as the contract is cost-plus, but hardly enough to pay for this deal.

    Boeing’s contracts for the first two SLS core stages and ICPS upper stages total $3.1 billion. At a typical 10% profit margin on these types of contracts, it would represent over three times the total PIPE financing for this deal, if it were the parent company and not the venture capital fund financing it and HorizonX represented the entire PIPE and not a fraction.

    Still, SLS is a trivial portion of Boeing’s revenues, on the order of 0.5%

    My first thought was….that indicates how badly everything else is at Boeing

    When your company starts generating a profit of $25 million per day in the middle of a pandemic, you might have earned the chops to say that.

    Ray Van Dune writes: Looks like making a strategic investment in a buggy-whip factory to me! They figure since it launches from a 747, it must be a hot idea. Boeing management has the innovative instinct of a grape.

    Robert writes: Ray Van Dune: Hah! Can I quote you on Batchelor?

    Look, I get it. You hate Boeing and will use every opportunity to cut them down. But the level of ignorance here — you’re off by two orders of magnitude — would be astounding for anyone, but it’s especially astounding (and worrisome) for someone who calls himself a space journalist. You don’t understand Boeing. You don’t understand the market. You don’t understand this deal. I’d say all you understand is your hatred, but you probably don’t even understand that, since it’s not based in reality.

  • mkent: Let me start by saying I suspect you almost certainly work for Boeing, and come here mostly to defend it at all costs. At least, that is the consistent pattern of almost all your comments.

    However, you discredit your effort to protect Boeing by denigrating its critics with ad hominen attacks. I do not hate Boeing, or Blue Origin, or any of these companies. Nor am a “fanboy” of SpaceX, an insulting term you use repeatedly. Stop imposing your emotions on me or others.

    What I am is routinely disappointed and disenchanted with Boeing’s overall lack of real achievement in the space field. I match that with is dismal showing in aviation in recent years. The quality of work has been unreliable and failure prone. To ignore those facts is to stick your head in the sand. I would like Boeing to get its act together, to fly Starliner, to start selling tickets on it and competing with SpaceX, even stealing some of its business.

    So far Boeing has failed miserably at that task. And your effort to defend it at all costs, as someone who appears very much to be a Boeing employee, only suggests that Boeing will continue to fail. For you can’t fix a problem if you refuse to recognize it.

    As for getting things wrong here, I gladly accept your corrections. Doesn’t change my opinion that Boeing’s acquisition of a share of Virgin Orbit (which is what the article described most clearly) suggests the company now needs to go outside of itself to get some new space expertise, even some profits, since its own space divisions are doing so poorly. And that by the way is not my opinion, it is NASA’s upper management, which presently has said it will not take any new Boeing bid very seriously because of the poor quality of its recent bids.

  • Mike a

    Robert:
    However, you discredit your effort to protect Boeing by denigrating its critics with ad hominen attacks. I do not hate Boeing, or Blue Origin, or any of these companies. Nor am a “fanboy” of SpaceX, an insulting term you use repeatedly. Stop imposing your emotions on me or others.

    That is exactly what you did to me when I brought up Mr. Clapton’s tirade from years ago!

    Rather than fact checking anything I said, you immediately jumped to “slander” and accusing me of using “leftist” tactics.

    Sorry Robert, I have to call you out on that one.

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 *