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Firefly forced to postpone next launch because of security issues

Capitalism in space: Firefly has been forced to postpone its next launch of its Alpha rocket, tentative scheduled for late January, because the federal government wants the Ukranian investor — who essentially saved the company when it went bankrupt — to completely divest himself of any ownership.

Noosphere Venture Partners, a fund run by Ukrainian-born investor Max Polyakov, said Dec. 29 that it will retain an investment banking firm to sell its interest in Firefly. That sale comes at the request of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the company said.

Polyakov invested $200 million to bring the company from the ashes when it was about to be liquidated in bankruptcy proceedings. He left its board of directors last year and reduced his share in the company last year in an effort to ease these same concerns. Apparently that wasn’t good enough, even though his ownership was not a problem when the company obtained a lease for a launch site at Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Though there might be a real security issue, we must not dismiss the possibility that this is a corrupt power play by people in Washington to use Polyakov’s foreign roots to push him out so that they can replace him, now that the company is healthy and moving forward after Polyakov saved it.

I know this is a cynical suspicion, but based on the behavior of our Washington bureaucracy and legislators in the past decade, it is far from an unreasonable one.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


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.


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  • Joe

    It sucks having these changes occur with no real understanding of the problem. I have payload launching the rocket and now it is delayed. All it does is hurt my business in the long run.

  • Joe:

    Curious if you have an ‘opt-out’ clause if there are unforeseen delays, or are you locked into the contract, regardless?

  • Probably a long shot, but could this be a small piece of distancing ourselves from Ukraine, leaving them twisting in the wind in front of Putin?

  • Questioner

    Jester Naybor:

    Maybe. However, I think America has no business in Ukraine either way.

    Regardless, the “space transportation business” really seems to me to be one of the hardest ways to make a profit. High risks at all fronts.

  • High risks at all fronts.

    Questioner, that is true … as it has been since the first watercraft left sight of the shore. To the point that in many cases it took the plausible promise of great wealth at the destination, to motivate the design and use of such transport … Columbus and others sought access to the known wealth of the East, for example. Would the American transcontinental railroad been built if it had not been established that California also possessed such wealth?

    That being said, it is particularly interesting that men – from the Wrights to Musk – have sought to leave contact with terra firma when the return-on-investment for doing so is far less certain.

  • The Big Guy didn’t get his ten percent?

  • jeff

    If foreign ownership is a problem, what of SpaceX (Musk dual citizenship) and Rocket Lab (Beck)? Or is it just ties to certain countries that are forbidden? Then what of the Biden’s ties to the Ukraine?

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