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.


China smallsat company succeeds in orbital launch

A Chinese semi-private company, iSpace, successfully launched two smallsats into orbit today.

iSpace’s Hyperbola-1 rocket blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre at 1 p.m. (0500 GMT) Thursday, sending two satellites and payloads into a predetermined orbit, the company said in a statement on its official Wechat account.

The successful orbital launch was preceded by two failures since late last year by other startups.

More here.

I am very reluctant to call this company, along with the other Chinese smallsat companies OneSpace and LandSpace, a private commercial firm. While it might get investment capital within China, it is very clearly supervised closely by the government. Moreover, its use of solid rocket motors, as noted in the second link, strongly suggests it is taking advantage of Chinese military technology, something that could only happen under government control. From the second link:

It’s unclear how much it cost for iSpace to build the rocket. Chinese state-owned automaker Changan’s passenger car brand Oushang said it would sponsor the launch, but didn’t specify the amount. In OneSpace’s case, the firm’s nine-meter-tall, solid-propellent rocket cost the company $78 million to design, build, and launch. iSpace’s main private backers (link in Chinese) include domestic private-equity firms CDH Investments and Matrix Partners.

iSpace didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

But private space companies are also getting state support in China. All of the private launches so far, for example, have taken place at Jiuquan—Elon Musk’s SpaceX recently launched a rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, while its main customer is the US Air Force. What’s different in China is the constraints that come with having state backing. In June, China rolled out a set of rules that restrict what private companies can develop and manufacture. It’s unclear if that may restrict private companies’ capabilities in building larger rockets that could rival state rocket builders. [emphasis mine]

The money for this comes from state-owned companies. The technology comes from military hardware. The goals are almost all military in nature. I would also bet, because of the lack of information released, that the satellites launched today were military payloads. This is hardly an independent private company competing on the open market.

Nonetheless, this success gives China a new capability and raises its status as a world space power.

The leaders in the 2019 launch race:

10 China
9 Russia
8 SpaceX
5 Europe (Arianespace)
4 India

The U.S. still leads China 14 to 10 in the national rankings.

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