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.

Chinese pseudo-company preparing first launch of methane-fueled rocket

The Chinese pseudo-private company, Landspace, is apparently prepping its new launchpad and Zhuque-2 rocket for launch in one of China’s interior spaceports.

Satellite imagery and deleted social media postings indicate that work is progressing on a new complex for facilitating methane-liquid oxygen launch vehicles at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. Timelapse and high resolution satellite imagery show the development near the national Jiuquan center in the Gobi Desert and suggest the presence of a Zhuque-2 test article. A recent, now-deleted article indicates a new flame trench has been completed at Jiuquan.

The article at the link also cites statements by the company’s CEO in November, where he claimed they would launch in the first quarter of ’22. If successful, it would be the first orbital launch of a methane-fueled rocket, beating out both SpaceX’s Starship and Blue Origin’s New Glenn.

The article also says that the company is working on making the first stage reusable, which makes sense in that it will launch from inside China and that first stage if expendable will crash uncontrolled on Chinese territory. A second Chinese pseudo-company, iSpace, also claims it will begin hop tests of its own reusable rocket later this year.

For new readers: I call these companies pseudo because they really are not independent entities, as private companies are in the west. China’s government since 2014 has allowed private investors to create these companies and for the companies to compete against each other for government business, but none of them do anything without the full supervision of the Chinese government. Most have completed their first launches using solid rockets, technology almost always reserved for military use. None could have done so without that government permission and control.

The strategy here of China’s government is nonetheless smart, as the policy is creating competition and thus some innovation within its aerospace industry. The top-down control however will likely prevent these companies from doing anything truly different. Instead, they are apparently latching onto the new ideas, such as methane-fueled rockets and vertically landing first stages, that they have seen demonstrated by the truly independent private companies in the west.


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  • Tom Billings

    That these companies are far from independent is hardly surprising under a CPC/PLA rule of China, in which that Party has moved into presentations to Party Cadres telling them that China will be moved to “Pure Socialism” by 2040. Indeed, this attitude toward a business that might break free of government control is substantially traditional in China, going farther back than the Ming Dynasty.

    The Ming had the problem that their predecessors, the Yuan Dynasty, had started a fight with Japan by attempted invasions in 1274A.D. and 1281A.D., that was countered over the next 3 centuries by the piratical assaults of Japanese, and Japanese-organized, pirate assaults on China itself, which the Ming Called Woukou piracy. These private assaults added to the internal faction fights in the Ming Court between the Eunuch Faction and the Scholar/Official Faction.

    Even more, the Faction that lost in the struggle to dominate China after the Tumu Crisis of 1449-1455, was the Eunuch Faction who were the most deeply tied into Sea-faring Trade. This set the dominant Scholar/Official Faction against these sources of wealth for the Eunuchs, as sea-faring, by its nature, is a relatively independent operation compared to the farmers who had always given traditional obedience to ruling dynasties. As a modern analogy you can look at the dispute between the KMT and the CPC as the new factions.

    The KMT lost decisively in 1949, exactly 500 years after the Tumu Crisis caused the purge of the Eunuch Faction in 1449. What does all of this have to do with Space? The reactionaries in Beijing are bent on undoing the 1978-1989 freeing of markets, because they have no tolerance for Party officials being over-shadowed by Hi Tech Billionaires. They also seem to be very aware how much spaceflight can open up new and less controlled activities, that might serve as an exemplum to people in China, that cannot be kept out of the perceptions of China’s population. Their targeting of StarLink in their UN complaint is an example of their fears for the future.

    The net result is that for spaceflight, the CPC/PLA regime seems bent on a view that Private = Pirate!

  • Jeff Wright

    The development of solids is more concerning. All of China is proud of its space feats save for some farming podunks who will toe the line regardless.

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