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.

Dynetics’ manned lunar lander requires multiple launches and in-space refueling

According to company officials, the manned lunar lander being developed by Dynetics — one of three under NASA contract — will require three quick ULA Vulcan launches and in-space refueling before it will be capable of landing humans on the Moon.

Dynetics’ proposed Human Landing System (HLS) depends upon fuel depots and multiple rocket launches to achieve NASA’s goal of landing two astronauts on the moon in 2024, officials said during a webinar earlier this week. “Our lander is unique in that we need lunar fueling to accomplish our mission. In the next couple years, we will take in-space cryogenic propellant refueling technologies from the lab to [technology readiness level] 10 and operational,” said Kathy Laurini, payloads and commercialization lead for Dynetics’ HLS program.

The lander would launch on one Vulcan rocket, with the next two launches bringing the additional fuel.

More details here.

While it is good that this design does not require the long delayed and likely not-ready SLS rocket, it appears to require in-space capabilities that will not be ready by 2024, the Trump administration’s target date for its manned lunar landing. Instead, this design seems more aimed at subsequent operations in later years.

Since Congress has not yet funded the 2024 mission, though both parties seem interested in later manned lunar operations, this design seems cleverly aimed at that reality, designed to encourage long term government funding.

Regardless, everything hangs on the November elections, and who ends up in charge, both in the White House and in Congress. We presently have really have no way of predicting what will happen, until we know those election results.


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  • LocalFluff

    But it requires docking with a crewed Orion in Lunar orbit, that can only be launched on the SLS.

    Sure, it’s an architecture using what is supposed to be available to them. 1 SLS and 3 Vulcan launches, 4 dockings in Lunar orbit.

  • sippin_bourbon

    On one hand, in orbit re-fueling adds a new and daunting task, the way I see it, it is something we are going to have to tackle eventually, if we plan on moving beyond lunar orbit to Mars or The Belt.

    Or maybe even for the larger capacity landers if we are going to build permanent structures on the moon.

    It will be needed someday, now seems as good a time as ever.

    FWIW, the Trump Goal is 2024. If it slips to ’25 or ’26, I will not be upset. The fact is, under ANY other admin, it does not happen at all, on any time table.

  • Mike Borgelt

    They will be able to do the on orbit re-fueling because Musk will have shown them how in a couple of years.

  • Dick Eagleson

    And, given that the Dynetics lander uses methalox propellant, it should be possible to rig a suitable refueling apparatus that can use a Starship as a “milch cow.” That would eliminate at least one of those Vulcan launches.

  • Edward

    If launched on SLS it would be launched as a complete unit, but multiple Vulcan launches would be required if an SLS was not available for use. This was known back in May.

  • mkent

    They will be able to do the on orbit re-fueling because Musk will have shown them how in a couple of years.

    Oh good grief!

    They will be able to do the on-orbit refueling because Boeing, who owns half of ULA, did it 13 years ago.

  • LocalFluff

    Vulcan will have the same capacity to LEO as Delta IV Heavy. Orion was test launched on Delta IV Heavy and it could not take it to Lunar orbit. Are they supposed to dock in LEO? I read here, and Scott Manley in your link says, that refueling will be made in Lunar orbit (possibly with the “Lunar Gateway”), and that requires a bigger launcher than Vulcan for the Orion.

  • pzatchok

    You could just dock fuel tanks to the structure instead of transferring the fuel from tank to tank.

  • Doug Booker

    Lunar Starship is looking better and better. Since they too will need in space refueling I’m sure they are already working on it and a Starship tanker.

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