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.

Fired flight director accuses Virgin Galactic of lying about problems on July suborbital flight

A former Virgin Galactic flight director, who was relieved of his duties just before the company’s July suborbital flight that carried Richard Branson and then fired shortly thereafter, has accused Virgin Galactic of misleading the public in its statements about the problems that occurred during that flight.

Virgin Galactic has claimed that the high winds forced the spacecraft away from its planned flight path.

Mark Stucky, who Virgin Galactic fired eight days after Branson’s flight, said his former employer put out an inaccurate statement about why VSS Unity flew unauthorized into Class A airspace for 1 minute 41 seconds during its descent. Class A airspace is primarily used by airlines, cargo operators and higher performance aircraft.

“The most misleading statement today was @virgingalactic’s,” Stucky tweeted. “The facts are the pilots failed to trim to achieve the proper pitch rate, the winds were well within limits, they did nothing of substance to address the trajectory error, & entered Class A airspace without authorization.”

There is no way to know if Stucky’s accusation is correct. We might be seeing a bit of personal anger on his part considering his firing. At the same time, the FAA’s statement about this issue made no mention of winds, which suggests the Virgin Galactic statement might not be true.

Regardless, Virgin Galactic’s track record in matters of safety has not been stellar. The company needs to quickly resolve these issues or they will become a lingering sore that will damage sales for future suborbital flights.


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  • Joe

    The FAA investigation will show what happened. If it is bad, then hopefully people have sold their VG shares.

  • sippin_bourbon

    So I have a theory.

    No flight is perfect.

    I say that, because as a flight student, I would look back at a flight, and see what I could have done better. It was rare, but twice I found a minor fault with the equipment ( nothing life threatening ).

    That being said, I imagine every space voyage, with all the complexities, have some faults. And I certainly hope that the various proprietors are seeking, find, and acting on them.

    What I do not know is:
    a: Are the faults that Virgin Galactic (VG) finds unique?
    b: Are they self-reporting by VG (which implies transparency with a goal toward safer commercial flight) or leaked (implying coverup)?
    c: Do other companies have similar issues, but they are simply better at PR than VG?
    d: Are these really deal breakers for VG?

  • Patrick Underwood

    There must be more to this, because Class A starts at 18000 ft and ends at 60000 ft. It blankets the entire planet. Period. So there is absolutely no way for VG to avoid Class A. It’s like trying to avoid water while scuba diving. I’m guessing a reporter didn’t understand what was actually said.

  • Edward

    From the article:

    Stucky said Mackay and Masucci should have declared an emergency so controllers could have cleared the airspace below them.

    I’m not a pilot, but can’t controllers be informed of a flight deviation without an emergency being called? I should hope that an airspace incursion does not require an emergency situation for resolution.

    Patrick Underwood,
    The problem is less that Unity flew through those altitudes and more that it flew outside the protected zone. Theoretically, an airliner could have been authorized to fly where Unity passed through.

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